Wednesday, April 13, 2005
One year after winning a national essay-writing contest, Justin Krause has been awarded a prestigious National Merit Scholarship.
Krause, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, is one of 8,200 students across the country who received a National Merit Scholarship. He was informed about the decision by mail about two weeks ago.
"I was pretty surprised," Krause said Wednesday during a break in classes. "I didn't even know it existed until five of us were designated commended scholars."
The National Merit Schol-arship Program is an academic competition that recognizes and awards scholarships to U.S. high school seniors based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, or PSAT/NMSQT, and the Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT.
The 1.3 million high school students who take the PSAT/NMSQT are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Based solely on student test scores, the nonprofit National Merit Scholarship Corp. narrows the initial pool of 1.3 million students to 50,000. About two-thirds, or 34,000, of those high-scoring students are named Commended Stud-ents. The remaining one-third, or 16,000, students are named semifinalists for a National Merit Scholarship.
Students become finalists if they have a high-performing academic record, are endorsed and recommended by their school principals and submit SAT scores that confirm their high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT. Students such as Krause also are asked to complete a detailed application that includes a self-descriptive essay. About 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists become finalists. The 8,200 National Merit Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of their accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp. The scholarship winners represent 0.6 percent of the total number of students who take the PSAT/NMSQT.
Krause will receive a $2,500 scholarship for being named a National Merit Scholarship recipient. Krause plans to attend the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to study business.
Steamboat Springs High School teacher Tom Fitzgerald said Krause is a gifted, mature and witty student who has a great personality.
"Justin has a reputation among his peers as being one of the smartest students, but he's also one of the funniest," said Fitzgerald, who teaches Krause in advanced-placement English. "He's always thinking and connecting things."
Last year, Krause won the 2004 National High School Essay Contest sponsored by the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Krause's prize package included a trip to New York City, where he was recognized in front of a crowd of 1,000 people at U.N. headquarters.
Krause also was recognized for his writing abilities by the National Council of Teachers of English, which named him the Colorado winner of its 2004 Achievement Awards in Writing competition, Fitzgerald said.
"His resume is getting kind of thick at this point," Fitzgerald said.