Hillsborough tops Tampa Bay with 11 National Merit Scholarship winners
Fourteen talented Tampa Bay high school seniors overcame a stringent, two-year-long process to be selected as National Merit Scholarship winners.
Out of 1.6 million juniors in 22,000 high schools who took the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in October 2015, the highest-scoring 16,000 students became semifinalists who entered in the competition. Out of those, 7,500 were named finalists.
A committee of college admission officers and high school counselors reviewed students' academic records, the difficulty level of subjects studies and grades earned, scores from two standardized tests, contributions in leadership and school and community activities, recommendation letters and an essay written by the finalist.
Each winner received a $2,500 scholarship to use at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
More than 120 winners were selected throughout Florida, which, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, is proportional to the state's percentage of the nation's graduating high school seniors.
Hillsborough County swept the Tampa Bay area with 11 winners. They are:
- From Strawberry Crest High in Dover, Phoebe M. Ferguson, who plans to study biology, and Kevin M. Chacko and Nikitha Chandran, both of whom plan to study medicine.
- From Hillsborough High in Tampa, Jakob S. Nicolasora, who plans to study actuarial science. and Meghana Bhimreddy, who plans to study neurology.
- From C. Leon King High in Tampa, Saharsh Agrawal, who plans to study computer science, and Heta N. Patel, who plans to study medicine.
- From MIddleton High in Tampa, Varun Singh, who plans to study computer science.
- From H.B. Plant High in Tampa, George H. Bentley, who plans to study applied mathematics
- From T. R. Robinson High in Tampa, Sarah Jennewein, who plans to study medicine.
- From Berkeley Preparatory School, Kevin M. Kim, who plans to study finance.
Pinellas had two winners: Brian Y. Price, who plans to study biology, from Palm Harbor University High, and Nikhil Sharma, who plans to study computer science, from Lakewood High in St. Petersburg.
Pasco had one scholarship winner: May Qi of Gulf High in New Port Richey, who plans to study medicine.