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Sept. 13, 2007

Blazers honored with Maryland Distinguished Scholar Awards

by Emily Hsiao, Online Managing Editor
Maryland Distinguished Scholar Recognition Day was held on Saturday Sept. 8 at Loyola College, where 43 Blazers among over 300 students were honored as Maryland Distinguished Scholar semifinalists and finalists. Senior Lance Zhao, one of the 10 finalists in the Talent in the Arts competition, performed at the ceremony.

The program included art, vocal, instrumental music and dance performances from 10 specially selected finalists in the Talent in the Arts category. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former Congressman Kweisi Mfume also attended the ceremony and gave speeches.

At the ceremony, Zhao played "Mephisto Waltz #1" by Franz Lizst on the piano. Zhao was nominated by his judges during an audition to perform at the ceremony.

For Zhao, being selected to perform from out of over 40 finalists in the arts competition was a huge accomplishment. "This occasion was pretty special since so many people came and it was great to see such a big audience," he said. "Being selected to play during the ceremony was a great honor since there were only two instrumentalists out of the ten who performed."

Finalists in the talent and academic competition are awarded with a $3,000 scholarship if they decide to enroll full-time in any Maryland college or university. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years. Semifinalists are alternates for the finalists and are awarded scholarships if finalists decide not to attend a Maryland college or university.

Students applied for the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Award in Feb. of their junior year. The competition has two categories: Academic Achievement and Talent in the Arts. The arts category includes visual art, instrumental music, vocal music, dance and drama.

Applicants for the Academic Achievement category were required to submit their applications through the guidance office. For the Talent in Arts competition, students were required to audition to be one of five Blair nominees. The nominees then had to present themselves in front of a panel of judges for an audition or a portfolio review and an interview at Catonsville Community College in June. The Maryland Higher Education Commission selected the finalists and semifinalists in both categories.

According to senior Caleb Fan, a finalist in academic achievement, getting the award was a rewarding recognition for his effort in school. "It finally feels like some of my hard work is paying off," he said.

Finalists
Baharani, Vijay
Berry, Jack
Bullard-Sisken, Samuel
Burton, William
Choi, Jason
Fan, Caleb
Ganesan, Hareesh
Gokhale, Priyanka
Kinter, Sarah
Kung, Andrew
Li, Kun
Mirviss, Laura
Peng, Timothy
Potash, Jocelin
Reed, Molly
Salwan, Jasleen
Schnure, Nilan
Sood, Rachita
Stokes, Thomas
Visclosky, Timothy
Waldman, Ryan
Wang, Jenny
Wasserman, Louis
Zhang, Junqian
Zhao, Lance
Zhu, Julie
Zou, Christina

Semifinalists
Atkinson, Joan
Callahan, Josephine
Chan, Amanda
Goldstein, Nathan
Hardin, Sally
Houng, Doris
Hsu, Michael
Lee, Benjamin
Morawski, Stevia
Nargundkar, Priyanka
Quang, Daniel
Raskulinecz, Madeline
Schneiderhan, Caitlin
Shah, Sahil
Yang, Yang
Zheng, Andy


For more information on the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Award, please visit the program's web site.



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