Buchholz named National Merit finalist _lowres

Photo provided by Crystal Evans -- Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students, from left, Marika Buchholz, Sundar Pandian, Jimmy Lee and Shiva Velingker are among approximately 15,000 finalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Four seniors from the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts are among approximately 15,000 finalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Marika Buchholz, of Baton Rouge; Jong-Ho “Jimmy” Lee, of Kenner; Somasundara Pandian, of Mandeville; and Shiva Velingker, of Leesville, were recognized as National Merit semifinalists in September.

To become a finalist, the students and their high school submitted a detailed scholarship application, in which they provided information about their academic records, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in college studies.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.

In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,500 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsoring institutions.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.