7 local students named 2017 National Merit Scholars

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Seven local students have been awarded 2017 National Merit Scholarships.

Rachel Cho, one of seven area 2017 National Merit Scholars, collects her diploma from Spring Lake Park High School last month. Photo submitted
Rachel Cho, one of seven area 2017 National Merit Scholars, collects her diploma from Spring Lake Park High School last month. Photo submitted

To become eligible for such scholarships, the students took the preliminary SAT test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test back in 2015 as high school juniors.

In September 2016, approximately 16,000 high scoring semifinalists were identified across the United States. Semifinalists completed an application among other requirements to become one of about 15,000 finalists.

In total 7,500 of the 15,000 finalists receive scholarships totaling more than $32 million.

The final round of scholarship recipients was announced July 17, but local students all knew earlier this spring and summer.

The first round of recipients was announced April 19.

Corporate sponsors award scholarships that range from $500 to $10,000 annually or provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000.

Connor Schmidt, of Ham Lake, a 2017 Blaine High School graduate, received the National Merit James E. Casey Scholarship, reserved for children of United Parcel Service employees. Schmidt intends to study medicine.

The second round, announced May 10, saw Benjamin Caswell, of Shoreview, a 2017 Spring Lake Park High School graduate, and Raffi Toghramadjian, of Blaine, a 2017 St. Paul Academy and Summit School graduate, receive $2,500 National Merit Scholarships.

Caswell intends to study social science, and Toghramadjian plans to pursue a career in medicine.

Finally, in June, four area students were notified that they received University of Minnesota-sponsored Merit Scholarships. All four students will attend the University of Minnesota.

Recent Spring Lake Park High School graduates Rachel Cho, of Blaine, and Piper Christenson, of Spring Lake Park, were awarded scholarships, as were Blaine High School graduate Catherine Lewis, of Blaine, and Coon Rapids High School graduate Kenneth Truong, of Coon Rapids.

Cho intends to study pharmaceutical science, Christenson plans to pursue a career in aerospace engineering, Lewis hopes to study library science and Truong intends to take courses in the engineering field.

Awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years.

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