High school seniors named National Merit semifinalists

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Three students at St. Cecilia Academy and one at Father Ryan High School have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. 

They are among the approximately 16,000 high school seniors across the country named semifinalists, who will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. 

St. Cecilia seniors Anna V. Huber, Isabel E. Leonard and Eleanor M. Rodgers were named semifinalists, along with Father Ryan senior Jackson Weil. 

Huber is the daughter of Jeff and Sharon Huber and a parishioner at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. Before attending St. Cecilia, she graduated from Overbrook School. 

Leonard is the daughter of John and Cindy Leonard. She is a parishioner of St. Matthew Church and a graduate of St. Matthew School. 

Rodgers is the daughter of Richard and Mary Rodgers and a parishioner at Christ the King Church. She graduated from Overbrook School. 

Weil, the son of Barb and David Weil, is a parishioner at St. Henry Church and a graduate of St. Henry School. 

The students qualified as semifinalists based on their performance on the 2020 Preliminary SAT/ SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, taken during their junior year. Semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. 

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. 

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to named finalists.  

Five more Father Ryan students have also received honors.  

  • Senior Marie Forbes, a St. Matthew parishioner and graduate, has been named a National Merit Commended Scholar. She is the daughter of Ann and Tim Forbes. 
  • Senior Steven Vanden Noven, a Christ the King alumnus and parishioner, has been named a National Merit Commended Scholar, a National African American Recognition Program Scholar, and a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. He is the son of Marnie and Steve Vanden Noven. 
  • Junior Kemi Tela, a graduate of St. Edward School and a Christ the King parishioner, has been named a National African American Recognition Program Scholar. She is the daughter of Zudi and Nkumu Tela. 
  • Senior Jackson Kirkby, who transferred to Father Ryan from MLK Magnet School last year, has been named a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. 
  • Junior Nicolas Paz, an alumnus of Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami, has been named a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. 

The National African American Recognition Scholars and the National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars are presented by the College Board. 

St. Cecilia Academy also had a National Merit Commended Scholar. Ella Hill Crouch, the daughter of Caroline and Jay Crouch, is a graduate of St. Bernard Academy and a parishioner of St. Henry Church. 

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