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Defense Schools Laud 12 Scholarship Semifinalists

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2009 – The Department of Defense Education Activity has reason to be extra proud of 12 of its students this year, the activity’s director said.

The students are national scholarship semifinalists, able to compete for millions of dollars in scholarship funds.

"The six DoDEA National Merit Scholarship semifinalists and the six DoDEA National Achievement Scholarship semifinalists are truly a credit to our school system and the pride of their families and friends," said Shirley A. Miles, the activity’s director. "These young men and women have not only realized high academic achievement, but they have also distinguished themselves in the ways they give back to their communities and in the roles they play in school activities."

Six high school seniors are eligible to compete for 8,200 National Merit Scholarship awards worth $35 million. They are:

-- Scott LaBelle, Brussels American School, Belgium;

-- Shannon Grammel, formerly a student at Heidelberg High School, Germany, now at Fort Campbell High School, Ky.;

-- Stella Y. Cho, Seoul American High School, Korea;

-- Emily M. Hoyle, Guam High School;

-- Alexander M. Koenig, formerly a student at Berlin Brandenburg International High School, Germany; now at Naples High School, Italy; and

-- Derrick B. Lewis, Ramstein High School, Germany.

They’re part of a group of about 16,000 semifinalists. The program is now in its 55th year.

To become a finalist, these students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school and be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal. They also must earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as the initial screening for entrants.

A detailed scholarship application, which includes a student-written essay and information about extracurricular activities and leadership roles, also is a requirement.

The finalists and winners will be announced in the spring.

Lewis is under double consideration as he is also a semifinalist for the National Achievement Scholarship Program.

This program recognizes and provides scholarships to academically promising African-American students throughout the United States and in Defense Department schools around the world.

Lewis is one of 1,600 other semifinalists from across the nation. Five of those semifinalists also are students at Defense Department schools. They are:

-- Christian D. Randolph, Kaiserslautern High School, Germany;

-- Sophia Sewell, Ramstein High School;

-- Vanessa B. Whatley, Weisbaden High School, Germany;

-- Kaylie D. McGregor, Naples High School;

-- Jay R. Pothula, Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokosuka, Japan; and

-- Christopher P. Campbell, Seoul American High School.

About 1,300 semifinalists will advance to the finalist level, based on academic performance throughout their high school career, principal recommendation, a written essay and SAT scores. From the finalists, 800 will receive National Achievement Scholarships totaling $2.6 million.

The scholarships also will be presented next spring.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation administers both award programs.

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Related Sites:
Department of Defense Education Activity
National Merit Scholarship Program
National Achievement Scholarship Program
National Merit Achievement Corp.

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