32 county students named National Merit finalists


Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 6:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 6:06 p.m.

Thirty-two Alachua County high school students have been named finalists for the National Merit Scholarship program.

That number represents nearly a 50 percent increase from last year, when 22 students in the district were named as finalists.

Alachua County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Hershel Lyons attributed the jump to parents and community members providing support to Alachua County students, high-quality teaching and high schoolers' dedication to academics -- and to outdoing the class before them.

“With our district, we have so many opportunities for students to take advanced courses,” Lyons said. “We continue to provide the highest quality educational system that a family would want to have.”

Finalists first score among the highest in the nation on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Then, they must earn the highest scores on the SAT.

National Merit Scholarship finalists also are expected to maintain a high degree of academic performance.

The approximately 15,000 students who were named finalists this year represent about 1 percent of all students who take the tests, according to information provided by Alachua County Public Schools.

This year's finalists for Alachua County are:

Tomasz Andraka, Joshua Brownstein, Daniel DeWitt, Davis Foote, Steve Han, John Huber, Alexander Song, Keshav Vemuri, Sarah Vyverberg and Yi Zeng from Buchholz High School; Henry P. Cole, Jessica Barrett Gower, Bushra S. Guenoun, Flora S. Huang, Erin Marisa Isaza, Rubab Islam, Joseph R. Kann, Lydia J. Koropeckyj-Cox, Austin C. Landis, Grace P. Lee, Michael P. Lewis, Jr., David D. Liu, Anne K. Lott, Juan Carlos Rueda, Radhika Salwan, Neena Schueller, Emilie Song, Lauren B. Von Zabern, Ellen Michelle Yeats and James B. Zhang from Eastside High School; and Alanna Markowitz and Tyler Parker from Gainesville High School.

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