Seniors earn National Merit, National Achievement awards

Theresa M. Neubig, a senior at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, has been awarded a $2,500 National Merit scholarship.

Neubig is one of 2,500 Merit Scholar designees chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. This year's competition began in October 2013 when more than 1.4 million juniors took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening of entrants. Last fall, some 16,000 semifinalists were notified of their opportunity to continue in the competition. National Merit scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors based on the students' academic records, including: difficulty of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; personal essays; and recommendations from their high schools.

James W. Beane III, a senior at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, was awarded a $2,500 National Achievement scholarship.

Conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the program is a privately financed academic competition established in 1964 to honor scholastically talented Black American youths. About 150,000 students entered this year's competition by requesting consideration when they took the PSAT/NMSQT. Last fall, about 1,600 of the highest scorers were named semifinalists. From the semifinalist pool, about 1,300 advanced to the finalist level, from which 800 scholarship winners were selected.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015