Steamboat Springs High School seniors Zach Schmidt, left, and Garrison Osteen, right, are semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship. Jessie Wallace, center, is a semifinalist for the Boettcher Scholarship. The students will learn in February whether they will receive the awards.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs High School seniors Zach Schmidt, left, and Garrison Osteen, right, are semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship. Jessie Wallace, center, is a semifinalist for the Boettcher Scholarship. The students will learn in February whether they will receive the awards.

3 Steamboat Springs High School seniors closing in on prestigious scholarships

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— Steamboat Springs High School seniors Zach Schmidt, Garrison Osteen and Jessie Wallace each have very different resumes.

For a senior project, Osteen is working to keep alive an obscure music-based language constructed by a French man in the 19th century.

When Wallace isn't playing lacrosse, she's playing basketball or the lead alto saxophone in jazz band.

Schmidt has a passion for biology and playing on his school's Knowledge Bowl trivia team.

But high school counselor Danica Moss said Wednesday that the three students are united by something important: their humble attitude and their smarts.

Schmidt and Osteen's performance on the Preliminary SAT last school year made them National Merit Scholar semifinalists.

They are among one percent of high school students across the nation to tout the honor. According to the scholarship program's website, the two seniors will learn in February whether they will be named finalists and earn one of the 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million.

"It definitely makes colleges recognize you," Osteen said. "I've been getting a lot more mail because of this honor."

Like Osteen, Schmidt said being named a National Merit finalist would be a major boost to his college application and his resume.

Moss said the high school typically graduates two National Merit Scholars each year.

Wallace's accomplishment is equally impressive.

This week, she was one of 200 students in the state to learn she is a semifinalist for a Boettcher Scholarship, which offers students a full ride to any four-year college or university in Colorado.

"It's definitely a confidence booster," Wallace said about being named a semifinalist. "I guess it makes me really want to be selected as a finalist not just because of the money, but also to be a part of this really prestigious group of scholars."

Moss said students who go on to become Boettcher Scholars are courted heavily by colleges across the state.

Wallace will find out in February whether she is one of 72 finalists for the award, which would require her to interview in Denver as the list is narrowed down even further. Boettcher Scholarships are given to only 40 students.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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