Laramie High School has the highest amount of semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program in the state.  Laramie has eight semifinalists in the running out of a state-wide 26 semifinalists. In fact, the number out of Laramie High School more than doubles any other school’s number with Sheridan High School being the next highest with three students advancing.

The high number of semifinalists did not come as a huge surprise, though, to Laramie High School Principal Stacy Bush.

This group is just a highly motivated, academically engaged group of students.

“I think it has to do with preparation as far as academic coursework that’s available at Laramie High School.  There is a tremendous breadth and depth within the programs that students can access,” says Bush. “And then, of course, it has to do with the students themselves. This group is just a highly motivated, academically engaged group of students.”

Those Laramie students named as semi-finalists are: Mrudhula Baskaran, Sierra L. Bienz, Ella I. DeWolf, Monica Galbraith, Sierra L. Levene, Jordan T. Mecca, Nadia M. Torok, and Daniel Y. Zhu.

“As you look across the group, those are the same kids that you see swimming, running cross-country, playing golf--so just, really, a broad-spectrum of interests. All of these students are involved in other clubs and co-curricular activities as well,” says Bush.

The path to becoming a Merit Scholar® begins with a student’s PSAT’s as a junior in high school, says Bush. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation then selects the top performers nationwide, taking the top 16,000 as semifinalists. Those selected as semifinalists represent less than one percent of all the students who take the test.

More steps are required for Laramie’s semifinalists to make it to the finalist standing. This includes continued high academic performance, a transcript audit, and the submission of SAT scores along with a detailed application and essay. In addition, each finalist must have a written recommendation from a school official.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain the finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

In February of 2015, up to 15,000 semifinalists will be notified that they have advanced to finalist standing. National Merit Scholarship winners for 2015 will be announced in releases beginning in April and concluding in July.