Blair tops region for seventh year in a row
Blair announced that it had 31 semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program and four semifinalists in the National Achievement Scholarship Program late today. The semifinalists attended a reception at the end of seventh period where they received information about becoming finalists and congratulations from staff members.
The semifinalists were selected for their high PSAT/NMSQT scores. Students who scored over 220 cumulative points were designated Merit semifinalists. Students with scores between 200 and 220 received letters from the National Merit Scholarship Program designating them "Commended Scholars." Achievement Scholarship semifinalists were chosen in a similar fashion, but that program is open only to black students.
Last year, Blair had 41 Merit semifinalists, by far the most in the state. Principal Phillip Gainous said that having 34 semifinalists "is still a big deal" and that "we still have the potential of more finalists."
Fears of anthrax contamination kept Blair's PSAT/NMSQT score sheets quarantined in a New Jersey post office last year, which eventually forced the school to administer a retest. However, the original sheets were found on the last day of searching, and many students saw significant drops in their scores from the retest to the original.
Many students were concerned that the changes in score might have taken them out of the running for semifinalist status when they otherwise would have had sufficiently high scores, but the College Board maintains that the system was fair and that sheets were undamaged while in the post office.
Nationwide, 16,000 students are selected as semifinalists every year; of the 16,000, 15,000 become finalists and 8000 of those become awards recipients and have the chance to win one of 2500 $2500 scholarships and scholarships from private companies.
Guidance department staff, administrators, Magnet Coordinator Eileen Steinkraus and Renaissance Program head Patricia Anderson attended the reception. Vice Principal Linda Wanner opened the reception by saying, "Montgomery Blair is proud of you."
Blair's semifinalists this year are: Matthew Baron, Dimitry Briskin, Kristina Cammen, Eddie Chan, Josh Chang, Kevin Chang, Sara Eldridge, Ben Gaddy, Alex Harn, Jeremy Hoffman, Samantha Hong, Kristin Hoven, Elizabeth Inkellis, Omar Karim, Evan Karlik, Dan Ku, Lisa Leung, Winston Lin, Alex Lo, David Madej, Ben Meiselman, Jacinda Moore, Nate Pancost, Tina Peng, Alex Perry, Anatoly Preygel, Jared Sagoff, Shannon Sanders, Eric Schaffer, Aleks Sverdlov and Anita Umarji. LA Holmes, Tania Jeanty, Marcus McKay and Sanders were the Achievement Scholarship Program semifinalists.
Click here for a larger version of the picture of the semifinalists. Not all semifinalists are pictured.
Kevin Chang. Kevin Chang was born on April 28, 1985. This makes him a bull, and coincidentally, a Taurus. Somehow, he ended up in the Magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School, where he is now a SENIOR! 03! Yes, he is a geek. He is often … More »