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10 Staples Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Back row from left, Nicholas Ribolla, Quinn B. Hughes, George R. Menz and Grant G. Tobben; front row, Aaron J. Samuels, Peter C. Sauer, Hannah H. Debalsi, Jodie I. Jodie I. Baris and Stephen K. Xu. Missing is Arjun S. Dhindsa.
Back row from left, Nicholas Ribolla, Quinn B. Hughes, George R. Menz and Grant G. Tobben; front row, Aaron J. Samuels, Peter C. Sauer, Hannah H. Debalsi, Jodie I. Jodie I. Baris and Stephen K. Xu. Missing is Arjun S. Dhindsa. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Staples High School in Westport announced that 10 seniors have been named finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Those students are: Jodie Baris, Hannah Debalsi, Arjun Dhindsa, Quinn Hughes, George Menz, Nicolas Ribolla, Aaron Samuels, Peter Sauer, Grant Tobben and Steven Xu.

To become a finalist, students met these criteria: outstanding academic record throughout high school; endorsement and recommendation by the school principal; SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance. Semifinalists and a school official 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, school officials said.

“These students have demonstrated scholarship and tenacity throughout their years in our schools and receipt of this high honor is indicative of their academic skill and resilience," Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon said in a statement. “Their individual success is reflective of the support they have received from their families, their school teachers and administrators, and the many members of the Westport community who have positively impacted their lives. I congratulate them, one and all."

As Merit Scholar finalists, the students all have a chance to earn one of 7,400 scholarship awards, which together are worth more than $35 million. The scholarship winners will be chosen from a nationwide group of more than 15,000 finalists, and may be notified whether they have been selected as early as sometime in March.

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,” according to information provided by the school district.

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