Record Number of PR Students Earn 'Commended' & 'Semifinalist' Status in National Merit Scholar Competition

(Gibsonia, PA) The National Merit Scholarship Corporation Program is naming a record number of Pine-Richland High School seniors "Semifinalist" and "Commended" in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Competition.  Principal John Pietrusinski will officially notify 21 seniors of this worthy recognition.

PRHS Cameron Barnes, Branden Glass, Laura Herrle, Evan Klei, Brian McWilliams, Ji-Ho Park and Peter Pearson earned "Semifinalist" status. PRHS seniors Lucas Axiotakis, Nisha Bhat, Samantha Bigley, Nigel Halliday, Kathryn Knapp, Jonathan Marks, Alexandra Marshall, Catherine McAnney, Michael Morrissey, Lauren Muchnok, Joni Mulvaney, Justin Olshavsky, Rebecca Olson and Taylor Perz earned "Commended" status in the 2012 program.

This is a record number in the history of the Pine-Richland School District and more than double than last year's scholars.  In 2011, 10 students earned "Commended", "Finalist" or "Semifinalist" status. In 2010, 12 students earned this recognition, six in 2009 and 11 in 2008."Semifinalists" are among only 16,000 students nationwide earning this recognition.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,400 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 million, that will be offered next spring. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain "Finalist" standing, and about half of the "Finalists" will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

The "Commended" students are among only 34,000 students nationwide to achieve this status. Although, these students will not continue in the 2012 competition for National Merit Scholarships, they are among the top five percent of 1.5 million students.

To achieve "Semifinalist" and "Commended" status in the 2012 competition, students excelled on the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). NMSC, a not-for-profit organization which operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by about 450 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC's goals of honoring the nation's scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.