Five seniors at Menlo-Atherton High School and one from Menlo School have earned National Merit scholarships of $2,500 each.
The awards to M-A students went to three Menlo Park residents -- Sashi A. Ayyangar, Maya Lozinski and Scott J. Swartz -- and Portola Valley residents Ellora T. Israni and Chloe E. Peters, according to a statement from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The sixth winner, Daniel M. Diekroeger of Woodside, is a Menlo School student.
The 2,500 award winners were chosen from a nationwide pool of 15,000 finalists, the statement said. The criteria include difficulty of a subject studied, grades, standardized test scores, leadership in community activities, an essay and a recommendation from a school official.
The number of winners per state is proportional to the state's percentage of graduating seniors. California had 310 for 2010.
Comparing numbers of scholarships per school "will lead to erroneous and unsound conclusions," the statement said, adding that the scholarship program is a showcase for individual students with "exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies."