Lawrence and area high school students are named semifinalists in a national award program.
Thirteen Lawrence High School seniors are among the estimated 15,000 students nationwide who are semifinalists in the 43rd annual National Merit Scholarship program.
The students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 7,400 Merit Scholarship awards, worth about $28 million, to be offered next spring.
Of the 13 semifinalists, 12 attend Lawrence High School and one attends Lawrence Alternative High School. In addition, four Lawrence-area seniors have been named among the elite group.
Semifinalists were chosen from more than 1.1 million students in about 20,000 U.S. high schools who entered the program by taking the 1996 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest scorers in each state were designated semifinalists.
Before they can be considered for Merit Scholarship awards, semifinalists must advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Those requirements include maintaining an outstanding academic record throughout high school and being endorsed and recommended by the high school principal.
An estimated 14,000 finalists will be chosen, and from that group 7,400 Merit Scholarship winners will be picked.
Semifinalists from the Lawrence area include two from Perry-Lecompton High School and one from McLouth High School. In addition, an Ottawa High School student who skipped his senior year and now attends Kansas State University is a semifinalist.
One Baldwin High School student -- now attending school at Shawnee Mission North -- also was named a semifinalist.
"She was one of ours," school counselor Carl Brooks said about Emily Johnson. "She got this score when she was a Baldwin High School student, not when she was a Shawnee Mission North student. She's a wonderful young lady."
Semifinalists from Lawrence High School are:
Dustin Chase, son of Ray and Kerrie Urbanek; Laura Darnell, daughter of Jay and Colleen Darnell; Sasha Hart, son of Kathleen Harrison; Dakota Loomis, son of Burdett and Michel Loomis; Emily Lowrance-Floyd, daughter of Rebecca Lowrance and Martin Floyd; Seth Mehl, son of Ted and Judith Mehl; Hannah Petr, daughter of David and Mary Beth Petr; Matthew Ring, son of Stanley and Mary Ann Ring; Luke Shulenburger, son of Jane Shulenburger and David Shulenburger; Hana Takusagawa, daughter of Fusao Takusagawa; Jennifer Timmer, daughter of John and Gloria Timmer; Chris Wilkins, son of Dirk and Ginger Wilkins.
The semifinalist from Lawrence Alternative High School is Adam Mersmann, son of Patti Mersmann and Tom Mersmann.
Students from Perry-Lecompton High School are:
Adam Kraus, son of Gary and Susan Kraus; Sarah Katherine Paul, daughter of Lowell Paul and Sheila Reynolds.
The semifinalist from McLouth High School is Timothy Pierce, son of Ruth and Tom Pierce.
Ben Weaver, son of Tracy and Susan Weaver, Ottawa, skipped his last year at Ottawa High School and is now attending Kansas State University. He is also a semifinalist.