Montgomery, Ala. —Ten Montgomery Public School students have been included on a distinguished list of the nation’s top African-American and Hispanic students by being named National Achievement Semifinalists and National Hispanic Scholars. The news coincided with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s release of the names of Achievement Semifinalists and the College Board’s release of the names of National Hispanic Scholars nationwide earlier today.
MPS leads the state with more Achievement Semifinalists than any other school system. Of the 46 Alabama students to be named, nine are from Loveless Academic Magnet Program High. James Bethea, Breana J. Davis, Judy K. Oranika, Lindsey O. Redd, Akaninyene D. Ruffin, Timothy T. Scanterbury, Joshua J. Tippett, Mary R. Vandiver, and Rick H. Watkins are now among 1,600 students from a pool of 160,000 who applied for the program nationwide. LAMP student Gabriela Hayes is among 5,000 students selected nationwide as a National Hispanic Scholar.
“It’s very gratifying to see our students earn national recognition that acknowledges their hard work and commitment to academic excellence,” said MPS Superintendent Barbara Thompson. “These young people are bright and highly-motivated. They have proven themselves to be among the best of the best. The LAMP administration, teachers, staff and parents have done an outstanding job. I am very proud of what they have achieved.”
LAMP Principal Mary George Jester said the achievement is no small feat. Semifinalists not only have to be outstanding students, but demonstrate that they are involved in activities that reflect a well-rounded educational experience.
"The process for earning this honor is rigorous. I believe our Achievement Semifinalists excel because their accomplishments in the classroom and their participation in extracurricular activities area direct reflection of the investment their teachers and parents have made for them to be successful."
Achievement Semifinalists represent the highest scoring program entrants in each state. About 80 percent of Semifinalists become Finalists, and more than half of the Finalists receive a $2,500 Achievement Scholarship Award. The students were evaluated based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, academic record, community involvement, leadership ability and personal essay. They will advance in the competition and will have the opportunity to compete for 800 Achievement Scholarship awards worth some $2.5 million to be offered next spring.
Though the National Hispanic Scholars program does not provide a financial reward, being named is an important academic recognition. The program sends a list of all recognized students to subscribing colleges and universities that are particularly interested in academically outstanding seniors of Hispanic or Latino heritage.