Photo by Scott Franz
Steamboat Springs High School seniors Lev Tsypin and Emily Hannah are finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School seniors Lev Tsypin and Emily Hannah are no ordinary students.
“They’re brilliant in so many ways,” said Danica Moss, the high school’s college and career counselor. “They clearly stand out above the students in their class.”
Hannah and Tsypin also stand out above students across the nation. They are among 15,000 high school seniors in the U.S. who last month were named finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among the top 1 percent of high school students who entered the program last school year. The program is expected to this year award 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million to seniors, according to the program’s website.
Tsypin and Hanna’s accomplishment is recognition of their performance on the PSAT test they took in the fall of their junior year. They were named finalists in February based on essays they penned and on the recommendation of their principal, Kevin Taulman.
“To be recognized as a National Merit Scholar is one of the highest academic accolades a senior can receive,” Moss said.
Reflecting on their accomplishment Thursday in Moss’ office, the two students talked about their college plans and how they’ve always chosen to challenge themselves with their course offerings in Steamboat. They said the recognition is a validation of hard work.
“I was excited,” Hannah said about the letter she received naming her a finalist in the scholarship program. “It was a really big honor.”
Tsypin added that it was “incredibly cool” to be among so few finalists.
“It made me pretty happy,” he said.
In addition to their academic accolades, Hannah and Tsypin excel outside of the classroom. Hannah, a cross-country skier with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, plans to ski at Harvard University. She is a co-founder of the school’s eco-club and this month was recognized as the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs’ student of the month.
Tsypin, a clarinetist who also plays alto and tenor saxophone, has held first chair in the school’s jazz band since he was freshman. On Feb. 12, he played in Carnegie Hall as a member of the Honors Orchestra. He has scored a perfect five on the five AP tests he has taken.
Hannah said she plans to study chemistry at Harvard.
Tsypin plans to study biology with the intention of attending medical school.
“Their resumes go on and on, and you’re amazed at how they can fit all of that into their schedules,” Moss said. “They’re driven and intelligent not just in class, but in their extracurricular activities, as well.”
She added that the high school usually only has one or two students each year qualify as semifinalists or finalists for the National Merit Scholarship program.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com