Ben Pontz is Merit Scholar
(photo: Mr. Spencer presented Ben with his Semifinalist certificate in September 2015)
Last week, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced this year’s National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners, including L-S senior Benjamin Pontz. The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding Finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. In addition to Ben's academic achievements, he's known at the High School as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LS News - the High School's popular new student newspaper, the marching band's senior drum major, captain of the Quiz Bowl team, and more. Ben will be sorely missed when he leaves L-S behind next year for Gettysburg College.
National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.
These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.
This year’s competition for National Merit Scholarships began in October 2014 when over 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMQTt®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only these 16,000 Semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.
From the Semifinalist group, 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the 2016 program, about 7,500 Finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of about $33 million in college scholarships.
NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by approximately 440 independent corporate and college sponsors that share NMSC’s goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education.
Lampeter-Strasburg School District
1600 Book Rd., Lancaster PA 17602
Administration Building: 717-464-4699
Lampeter Elementary School: 717-358-1880
Hans Herr Elementary School: 717-509-0300
Martin Meylin Middle School: 717-509-0289
Lampeter-Strasburg High School: 717-509-0485