Six more Minneapolis Public Schools students on July 12 were named college-sponsored National Merit Scholars. In total, nine MPS students received National Merit Scholarships during the 2009-10 school year. Isabella N. Dawis of Southwest High School was awarded the National Merit University of Minnesota Scholarship for 2010. She was named a National Merit semifinalist in 2009.
Dawis, a Filipina-American youth, is an advanced high school student taking courses in the University of Minnesota Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program. She is a competition pianist, a singer, dancer and actor in local theater productions including Mu Performing Arts, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre and Children’s Theater Company.
Samuel J. Calvit of South High School received the National Merit Tulane University Scholarship. Caroline A. Lauth of Southwest High School was given the National Merit Colby College Scholarship. Tyler S. F. Mahoney of South High School received the National Merit Carleton College Scholarship. Rose E. Milavitz of Southwest High School was awarded the National Merit Northwestern University Scholarship. Ruth L. Styles of Southwest High School was given the National Merit University of Minnesota Scholarship.
The winners join two MPS corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship winners announced in April and one MPS college-sponsored National Merit Scholarship winner announced in May. In April, Ashley R. Bielinski of Southwest High School received the National Merit General Mills Foundation Scholarship and Christopher J. Riddle of Southwest High School received the National Merit Siemens Scholarship. In May, Mikayla M. MacNally of Southwest High School was awarded the National Merit Northwestern University Scholarship.
Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among finalists in the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. College-sponsored National Merit Scholarships provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. This year, 201 colleges and universities are sponsoring about 4,900 Merit Scholarship awards.
This final group of winners brings the number of 2010 National Merit Scholars to approximately 8,400. These distinguished high school graduates will receive scholarships for undergraduate study worth a total of approximately $36 million. In addition to college-sponsored awards, two other types of National Merit Scholarships were offered—2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships for which all finalists competed and over 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who met criteria specified by their grantor organizations.
More than 1.5 million juniors in over 22,000 high schools entered the 2010 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2008 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2009, 16,000 semifinalists were designated on a state representational basis. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of a state’s seniors.
To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists submitted a detailed scholarship application, which included an essay describing activities, interests and goals. Semifinalists had to have an outstanding academic record; be endorsed and recommended by a school official; and earn SAT scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. In total, 15,000 semifinalists met finalist requirements. Winners are the finalist candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.