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Four Friends' Central Seniors Receive National Merit Scholarships
Four Friends' Central Seniors Receive National Merit Scholarships
Friends’ Central is thrilled to announce that four seniors have been named winners of 2020 National Merit Scholarships. Tristan Szapary won a corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship, Benjamin Lehrer and Jane Whellan won a National Merit Scholarship, and Seraphina Jade Halpern won a university-financed National Merit Scholarship. All four students were named National Merit Finalists earlier this year.

Among the roughly 1,000 U.S. high school seniors to receive corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship was Tristan Szapary, who received the *Johnson & Johnson Scholarship. Tristan will be attending Princeton University next year and is considering a career in the medical field. Tristan shares, “Next year, I will be fencing for Princeton University, and though technically undecided, I’m considering taking a pre-med track with a major in Neuroscience. A profession in medicine interests me because it combines service for others and intense problem solving every day on the job. Additionally, I plan on minoring in creative writing, as I am an avid reader and writer and hope to pursue those studies further in college.” Corporate National Merit Scholarship awards are financed by about 160 corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations. Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors.

Two FCS seniors, Ben Lehrer and Jane Whellan, were named winners of this year’s National Merit Scholarships, joining a pool of 2,500 high school seniors, coming out on top among more than 15,000 other finalists. These finalists are judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Ben, who will be attending Johns Hopkins University next year, shares, “I plan to major in mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering. I love the homelike feel of Hopkins and I have been fascinated by all things that fly for my entire life. I hope to one day design and build spacecraft to expand our horizons.” Jane, who will head to Washington University in St. Louis next year, plans to double major in anthropology and religion.

Jade Halpern was recently named a winner of a National Merit Scholarship financed by a university. Jade has received the National Merit University of Chicago Scholarship, and she is one of about 3,300 winners nationwide of university-financed scholarships. Jade's probable career field is medicine. Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. Sponsor colleges and universities include 92 private and 75 public institutions located in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
 
Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists, who represent less than one percent of the nation’s seniors, had to fulfill various requirements to advance to finalist standing. Each semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also must have had an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance.

Congratulations, Tristan, Ben, Jane, and Jade!

*Regarding their National Merit Corporate Johnson & Johnson says, “Caring for the world, one person at a time, has inspired and united the people of Johnson & Johnson for over 125 years. We embrace research and science--bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our Credo places a strong emphasis on our employees, and the National Merit Scholarship Program is an excellent opportunity to support future generations.