Students receive national recognition

Students receive national recognition

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently named North Point High School seniors Daryl Lakner and Tochukwu “Tochi” Chinyere as semifinalists in the National Achievement Scholarship Program.

Lakner and Chinyere were chosen as semifinalists from more than 160,000 students nationwide who submitted an application in the 2014 National Achievement Scholarship Program. The program highlights the achievements of African-American students who request consideration when they take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as high school juniors. Semifinalists are the highest scoring program entrants in their state.

Semifinalists must inform the NMSC about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstration of leadership abilities and educational goals. In January, about 1,300 finalists will be selected to compete for 700, one-time, $2,500 scholarships. Scholarship awardees are selected on the basis of their abilities, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Lakner hopes to attend Clemson University in South Carolina and major in either materials engineering or theatre. Chinyere is considering attending the University of Maryland, College Park where he plans to major in either biology or chemistry.  To prepare for the PSAT, Lakner and Chinyere both said they found PSAT practice packets helpful. Chinyere said the vocabulary section was especially helpful. Lakner said, “I knew most of the material that would be on the test, I just needed to review the math I learned from two years ago that I haven’t used since.”

Two Maurice J. McDonough High School seniors, Lucas Salada and Megan Ponter, were selected for the National Hispanic Recognition Program. They were selected from more than 200,000 Hispanic juniors nationwide for excelling on their PSAT. Students selected are from the United States, Guam, Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Marshall Islands, as well as United States students studying abroad. About 5,000 Hispanic students are honored as part of the program each year.

Additionally, nine other Charles County Public Schools students were commended in the National Merit program this year. They are: Ryan Grant of La Plata High School; Ashlynn Stanley, Kathryn Whalen and Daryl Lakner of North Point; Adrianne Turner of McDonough; and Nao Rho, Anna Braden, Maher Bousaba and Kaitlyn Crook of Thomas Stone High School.

The NMSC is a non-profit organization that was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit and National Achievement Programs. Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by NMSC’s funds and more than 500 business organizations and other educational institutions with the goal of honoring the nation’s scholastic students and the pursuit of academic excellence. For more information about the NMSC programs, visit

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Connie W. Armstead, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

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