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Cate Seniors Recognized by National Merit Scholarship Program

Two Cate School seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2013-14 National Merit Scholarship Program and another 12 have been named Commended Students.

The students have been selected as a result of their high PSAT scores and their outstanding academic achievement and promise, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which made the announcement earlier this month.

Erika Noble of Moreno Valley and Jean Shen of Santa Rosa Valley are two of approximately 16,000 semifinalists, placing them in the top 1 percent of high school scorers on the PSAT, which they took last spring as juniors.

Mohamad Batal of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia, Emily Brahma of Jersey City, N.J., Nicholas Burns of Ventura, Christiana Choi of Bundang, South Korea, Lacy Douglas of Reno, Nev., Hyesan Lee of Los Angeles, Harrison Louie of San Francisco, Sydney Luca-Lion of Santa Barbara, Anna Lueck of Vashon, Wash., Rachel Pak of Rancho Palos Verdes, Andrew Smith of Santa Fe, N.M., and Monica Wang of Shanghai, China, are in the top 2 percent of scorers as Commended Students.

All were selected from a nationwide pool of about 1.5 million students in 22,000 high schools.

The semifinalist distinction is especially notable in California, which this year was one of three states that required the highest qualifying scores. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors, and the qualifying score for semifinalists is determined state-by-state to ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included.

Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Program offers 8,000 scholarships worth a total of $35 million to the highest scoring entrants in each state. The awards laud high school students' academic success and encourage future academic excellence in college. Semifinalists Noble and Shen will be competing for funds that will be awarded next spring.

"We're so proud of these 14 students for the excellence they've shown both in and out of the classroom," Headmaster Ben Williams said. "Here at Cate, we're well acquainted with their promise and achievements — it's a pleasure to see that they are being recognized more widely."

— Sarah Kidwell represents Cate School.

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