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10 Staples Seniors Named National Merit Finalists

Front from left: Shelby E. Cataldo & Zachary N. Effman. Back Row L to R: Back from left: Abigail G. Lustig, Megan R. Root, Everett W. Sussman, Kelly W. Pogue, Nicholas D. Massoud, Ian Cole Palmer & Jake A. Atlas. Missing: Claudia Frances Landow
Front from left: Shelby E. Cataldo & Zachary N. Effman. Back Row L to R: Back from left: Abigail G. Lustig, Megan R. Root, Everett W. Sussman, Kelly W. Pogue, Nicholas D. Massoud, Ian Cole Palmer & Jake A. Atlas. Missing: Claudia Frances Landow Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Ten Staples High School seniors have been named finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.

As Merit Scholar finalists, Jake A. Atlas, Shelby E. Cataldo, Zachary N. Effman , Claudia Frances Landowne, Abigail G. Lustig, Nicholas D. Massoud, Ian Cole Palmer, Kelly W. Pogue, Megan R. Root and Everett W. Sussman all have a chance to earn one of 8,000 National Merit Scholarship awards, worth more than $35 million total.

Staples principal John Dodig hailed the National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

“Because I spend so many hours each week with our students, I know how talented and hard-working they are,” Dodig said in a statement. “Having 10 National Merit Finalists and the fact that all nine semi-finalists became finalists is a visible sign that we have an outstanding student body. This many students in one class reaching this level of success lets the world know how serious our students are about becoming well-educated and how dedicated our teaching staff is in helping them reach their potential.”

Final scholarship winners, chosen from a group of more than 15,000 finalists, may be notified by NMSC as early as this month.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

To become a finalist, students maintained an outstanding academic record throughout high school; were endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earned SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance.

The semifinalist and a school official then had to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included the student’s essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

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