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Published Sep. 3, 2005

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced the final group of Merit Scholar designees for 2002. These 1,800 high school graduates join more than 2,700 other college-sponsored award recipients nationwide who were announced in late May.

Pinellas County students chosen from among finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program include:

Anthony K. Delellis, Angela L. Goddard, Edwin A. Homan and Kyle P. Woodlock, Palm Harbor University High School International Baccalaureate program; Keith T. Walbolt, Clearwater High; Stephanie A. Oliveira, International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High; Joseph A. Turek, Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High; Hilary J. Mogle, Seminole High; and Elliot M. Plaisance, a home-schooled student.

College-sponsored awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

Among students announced earlier by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation are Elizabeth G. Morency, International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High, who received a National Achievement $2,500 Scholarship; and Sarah E. Stargel, Seminole High; Cainna B. Jirikowic and Lowrie A. Ward, International Baccalaureate program at Palm Harbor University High; and Jacqueline M. Costrini, International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High, who received National Merit $2,500 scholarships.

Noelle L. Williams, daughter of Sarah and Dr. Larry Williams of St. Petersburg and an honors student at St. Petersburg High, was one of approximately 160 dancers nationwide chosen to attend the School of American Ballet this summer in New York City. More than 2,200 students auditioned for the five-week summer program, which trains dancers for the New York City Ballet.

Arianna Kyrene Hoeppner, daughter of Ofelia and Gerard Hoeppner of St. Petersburg, was selected to attend a National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. During the 11-day conference, titled "The Leaders of Tomorrow Meeting the Leaders of Today," she will interact with key leaders and newsmakers from the government, media and international community.

Hoeppner, who will be a junior in the International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High, is a member of the thespian society, Rojan service club and the National Spanish Honor Society. She is a former first chair, all-state clarinetist with the Pinellas Youth Symphony and has competed for two years at the Florida State Spanish Conference.

Joseph T. Mathews, son of Julie Empric Mathews and Richard Mathews of St. Petersburg, is a statewide winner of the Exchange Clubs Youth of the Year competition and a scholarship winner in the Florida District. Nominated by school administrators and peers, he will advance to national competition.

A 2002 graduate of the International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High, Mathews is a National Merit finalist and served as a Key Club vice president. He earned St. Petersburg High's senior scholar-athlete award and was a member of the cross country and soccer teams. He will attend the University of Virginia in the fall.

Paul F. Krause III, son of Donna and Paul Krause of St. Petersburg, is a United States Achievement Academy award winner in mathematics. One of his teachers at Bay Point Middle School nominated him for the national award.

The United States Achievement Academy recognizes students in the top 10 percent for academic performance, interest and aptitude, leadership qualities, enthusiasm and motivation to learn and improve.