Friday, September 21, 2018

Meet this year’s National Merit Semifinalists from Tampa Bay

A total of 126 students from around the Tampa Bay area were announced this week as semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program. They were among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide.

Taken together, they are said to represent the top 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors — what the National Merit organization calls "the nation's scholastic champions."

To put the 126 local semifinalists in perspective, they represent just a fraction of the senior class in Tampa Bay. Last year there were nearly 29,000 seniors in just the region's public high schools.

Across the country, the newly named semifinalists will compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth a total of more than $31 million to be offered in the spring. Among the factors considered are a student's academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, other honors and awards and SAT scores. Students also must be recommended by a high school official and write an essay.

The vast majority of semifinalists will be named finalists in February. Here is a list of the local semifinalists:

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Berkeley Prep

Benjamin A. Graham, Dev Kapadia, Bradley S. Kolar, Dane M. Kudla, Jalen I. Li, Alexandra N. Park, Alexander J. Weinstock

Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High

Kendall P. Hartland

Cambridge Christian

Zackary W. Rosso

Carrollwood Day School

Ammar S. Ali

Gaither High

Olivia C. Ratliff, Alani M. Seaman

Hillsborough High

Ankit Balaraju, Danny Z. Chen, Tim Cui

Homeschool

Grace D. Bourie

Jesuit High

Tristan Cole, Conor Favret, Brendan Fisher, Christopher Gold, Andrew Hanna, Mitchell Johnson, Kegan Lovell, Nicholas Muir, Richard Nuss, Thomas Perez, Richard Petitt, Sebastian Torres

King High

Ishan B. Chillikatil, Noah J. D'Amico, Isha C. Harshe, William L. He, Anagha Hesaraghatta, Praneeth S. Kolli, Rohan S. Kommireddy, Timothy A. Lende, Rebecca Lin, Thushar Mahesh, Shray Mehra, Andrew Paul, Sohum V. Shah, Padma Vasanthakumar, Sarah K. Yo

Lennard High

Dylan E. Radley

Middleton High

Laurel C. Dodson, Truman V. Hoang, Anmol Mittal, Arnav Pangasa

Newsome High

Caitlin R. Camm, Linnea F. Helenius, Ryan J. Holling, Jordan A. McMillan, Katherine R. Metheny, Maren A. Pelletier

Plant High

Zachary W. Brown, Dean A. Criser, Raelyn D. Hoskinson, Alyssa M. Nagle, Amy L. Pham, Aidan N. Reilly, Anna K. Williams, Calvin K. Yang

Robinson High

Jonah L. Chad, Vanessa M. Fermin, Annika F. Holmstrom, Anders Johnson, Catherine Y. Liu, Carly E. Long

Sickles High

Alexandra J. Bennion

Strawberry Crest High

Dean E. Alvarez, Gabriel J. Brosula, Raphael J. Brosula, Victoria L. Clark, Justin M. Delgado, Robert E. Haywood, Saketh Katta, Daniel S. Lewis, Vishnu D. Premkanth, Rythvic T. Rau, Krishna M. Vekariya

Wharton High

Victoria C. Bell

PINELLAS

Calvary Christian High

Matthew T. Palmer

Canterbury School of Florida

Georgia B. Brousseau

Countryside High

Shannon Cousineau, Charlie Nguyen

Dixie Hollins High

Eoin R. Olswold

East Lake High

Jessica Bennett, Ashwin Ganesh, Nathaniel Shirer

Lakewood High

Nathan S. Hamilton, William D. Kline, Isabel L. Rask

Largo High

William G. Black, Connor J. Mann, Amy T. Radwan

Palm Harbor University High

Hailey J. Batista, Zoe O. Brown, Chloe P. Buck, Sophia Chen, Kyle D. Nguyen, Thomas A. Pepas, Alexandra B. Shanabrook, Anuj Som

Seminole High

Julia C. Doyle

Shorecrest Preparatory

Randolph J. Ayers, William R. Hess, Aidan K. Samuelson

St. Petersburg Collegiate

Erin A. Murphy

St. Petersburg High

Alexandra N. Debure, Catherine Lee

PASCO

Academy at the Lakes

Roshan Warman

Gulf High

Eugenia Alexeyeva, Michael Qi, Sean G. Rent

Land O'Lakes High

Armen Brotgandel, Edward Brotgandel, Komal Handoo, Summer R. Wylie

Wiregrass Ranch High

Chin-Chin Choi, Nalin Mehra, Neil Rupani

HERNANDO

Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High

Hannah E. Holliday

Springstead High

Antonio Belavilas, Jonathan C. Cunningham, Dustin Faulkenberry

Weeki Wachee High

Cynthia M. Ross

Comments
Two Pasco County schools see principal shift

Two Pasco County schools see principal shift

Plagued with low staff morale, Pasco Middle School on Friday got a new principal charged with improving the climate of the Dade City campus.Danielle "Dee Dee" Johnson, principal of Wesley Chapel High since early 2017, was appointed to ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Time for Florida’s new student scholarships draws near

Time for Florida’s new student scholarships draws near

It's six weeks into the 2018-19 school year, and Florida's two newest scholarship programs to help struggling readers and bullied children are about to become reality.Florida lawmakers established the Reading Scholarship and the "Hope" Scholarsh...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Florida education news: Football, mental health, accountability and more

Florida education news: Football, mental health, accountability and more

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Republican candidate for Florida governor Ron DeSantis offers more insights on his views about Common Core, testing, charter schools and civics education. He released his position paper on education earlier in the week. Several l...
Published: 09/21/18
Following the money: Referendum and AC materials

Following the money: Referendum and AC materials

We've been collecting documents to supplement our reporting about the upcoming Hillsborough sales tax referendum and thought we would share them here. This post will be updated.First: Facebook Live video of Superintendent Jeff Eakins' first town hall...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Mental health provider that evaluated Nikolas Cruz picked to service charter schools

Mental health provider that evaluated Nikolas Cruz picked to service charter schools

Florida's largest charter school membership organization announced Wednesday that it is partnering with Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz's former mental health care provider to render services to schools.Broward County's Henderson Behavioral Heal...
Published: 09/20/18
Delayed Pasco charter school aims for Oct. 1 move to new site

Delayed Pasco charter school aims for Oct. 1 move to new site

Plato Academy Trinity has told parents and students it's targeting Oct. 1 to open its new building on Old County Road 54.It still has several permits to obtain if it wants to meet that latest deadline.The Pasco County charter school, serving about 25...
Published: 09/20/18
Gradebook podcast: DeSantis vs. Gillum and the future of Florida education policy

Gradebook podcast: DeSantis vs. Gillum and the future of Florida education policy

Florida's two major party candidates for governor have released their education platforms, and they couldn't have offered a more distinct choice.With the exception of wanting to expand career and technical education, and to pay teachers better, Repub...
Published: 09/20/18
Florida education news: Teacher pay, Red Tide, campaign contributions and more

Florida education news: Teacher pay, Red Tide, campaign contributions and more

TEACHER PAY: Pasco County teachers and staff continue to press for raises in the district's budget, getting only board promises to keep looking for funding. One School Board member urges his colleagues to make pay a top priority.RED TIDE: T...
Published: 09/20/18
Red Tide forces two Pinellas schools to move recess, physical education inside

Red Tide forces two Pinellas schools to move recess, physical education inside

Recess and physical education classes at two south Pinellas County schools were moved inside this week due to Red Tide, a toxic algae that continues to plague area beaches with throngs of dead fish and an unmistakable foul odor.Pr...
Published: 09/19/18
Pasco School Board candidate says charter school campaign contribution doesn’t define her

Pasco School Board candidate says charter school campaign contribution doesn’t define her

Early in the election cycle, Pasco County School Board candidate Tara O'Connor received criticism over her long list of supporters who are elected officials.Now, O'Connor is taking hits for accepting a $1,000 campaign contribution from Charter School...
Published: 09/19/18