National Merit scholarships go to six seniors


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."

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Like this comment
Posted by former M-A parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Way to go M-A students! We are so proud of you all.

Like this comment
Posted by public school parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Semifinalists are chosen on the basis of their test scores. Menlo had 8 semifinalists, M-A had 15. Scholarships are based on academic performance, community involvement, leadership, and other important indicators of high potential. It's interesting to note that only 1 of the 8 Menlo students made the cut there, whereas 1 of 3 M-A students got the scholarships -- which are awarded on the basis on merit (as the name says) not financial need.

Those parents who seem to feel that private schools are essential for a good education might want to consider whether the silver platter approach truly equips their children with the mindset and tools they need for success.

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