SPRING HILL — Every year, about 1.5 million juniors take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test to achieve recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. About 50,000 of those are recognized each September as either commended students (about 34,000) or semifinalists (about 16,000).
Springstead High School International Baccalaureate senior Jonas Gonzalez, 17, has been named as one of those top students, a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. He will learn in the spring if he will be one of 15,000 finalists able to benefit from the scholarship opportunities that standing offers.
Jonas is currently taking calculus, Introduction to Statistics, History of the Americas, English IV, Theory of Knowledge, Physics III and Biology III. He has an unweighted 4.0 grade-point average.
He is in the National Honor Society and the Spanish Club. He also is on the submarine team.
"We build human-powered wet submarines," he said, to enter in the Foundation for Underwater Research and Education's International Submarine Races, held each June in Bethesda, Md.
Jonas also is president of the school's engineering society.
It should come as no surprise that Jonas is looking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as he considers college choices. He said he will also apply to the University of Florida.
He is torn between studying physics and aerospace engineering.
Jonas is the son of Oswaldo Gonzalez and Maria Garcia of Brooksville.