by Dennis Dalman
Two Sartell High School students, Gopi Ramanathan and Austin Sura, are now among a special group of achievers – semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Sura and Ramanathan have long been high achievers in the Sartell School District, excelling in classroom work, as well as in award-winning participation in such groups as geography bees, spelling bees and more.
Each year, about 50,000 high-school students nationwide take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, and only 16,000 of them become semifinalists, eligible to take the National Merit Scholarship test this spring. Ramanathan and Sura are now in that select group. There will be 7,400 National Merit Scholarships given, worth more than $32 million.
Founded in 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. program is a non-profit entity that operates without government assistance and is funded by nearly 450 business organizations and higher-education institutions that share the mission of “honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.”
Since its founding, the NMSC has funded scholarships for more than three million students with 396,000 scholarships totaling $1.5 billion.