Four seniors at Cleveland Heights High School are National Merit Scholar semifinalists and have an opportunity to compete this spring for one of 8,300 awards.
Trevor Coble, Carter Hastings, Ian Kraus and Thomas Frederick received the designation in this year's 58th annual National Merit Scholarship program.
“These are exceptional students,” said Superintendent Doug Heuer in a press release. “We are extremely proud that they have earned this recognition. Their level of achievement is exactly what we have come to expect from Heights students, who demonstrate their excellence every year by scoring high on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.”
Each of these students earned a score on the PSAT that was high enough to rank them as a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. To qualify as a semifinalist, a student’s score must be among the highest in the state and the total number of semi-finalists represents less than 1 percent of all high school students in the nation.
The number of semifinalists varies from state to state because the number selected is proportional to the percentage of the total number of graduating seniors in each state. There are 16,000 semifinalists nationwide.
The four semifinalists at Heights will continue in the competition to become National Merit Scholar finalists by fulfilling several additional requirements in the coming months.
First, they must attain an SAT score that confirms their achievement on the PSAT qualifying test. They must also demonstrate a record of outstanding academic performance throughout high school and be endorsed and recommended by their high school principal.
In addition, the students and school officials must complete a detailed scholarship application that includes a student essay and information about their participation and leadership in school and community-based activities.
The CH-UH School District provided more information about each student:
- Trevor Coble likes math, science and the social sciences – it is all interests him. “I have had really great teachers here at Heights,” he said. “Mr. Meister makes history so real.” Coble is enrolled in numbers theory and world literature at Case Western Reserve University and classes at Heights High. He says that he loves learning. “My family encourages it,” he said. Coble is unsure of his plans after graduation, but he intends to apply to several liberal arts colleges, including Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and Kenyon College.
- Carter Hastings felt he had no other choice but to succeed. “My parents and teachers really encouraged me to do my best,” Carter said. “My parents are proud of me. A lot of the credit goes to them—they pushed me and helped me to reach my goals.” Carter recognizes that his family helped him achieve his award. “This is their accomplishment too,” he said. Carter is especially interested in attending a liberal arts college that will allow him to explore life options. He plans to apply to Oberlin College, Denison University and Kenyon College.
- Ian Kraus appreciates all the great teachers at Heights High. “Heights has done a lot for me,” Kraus said. “The teachers and staff are always there to support me.” Of all his teachers, history teacher Karen Bauer-Blazer has made the biggest impact on him. “History is my favorite subject, and I have had Ms. Bauer-Blazer every year of high school,” he said. “She makes class interesting and engaging. It’s not just a lecture.” Kraus plans to apply to several schools with strong business programs. “I’m not exactly sure what I want to study, but it will involve business,” he said. Kraus will apply to several schools, including Stanford University, Columbia University and Princeton University.
- Thomas Frederick’s favorite classes are chemistry and statistics. He is enrolled in organic chemistry and calculus at Cleveland State University and AP statistics at Heights High. “I have always been a math person, and statistics is really interesting,” he said. Chemistry teacher Evelyn Bradshaw is especially inspiring to him, and he enjoys his organic chemistry class at CSU because it allows him to see how things work at the micro level. Frederick plans to apply to several schools, including Brown University and Northwestern University.
Solon Patch editor Chris Mazzolini contributed reporting to this article