Former Sanibel student selected as National Merit Scholarship winner
The School District of Lee County announced that Fort Myers High School seniors Dahlia Dry and Ryan Schmelzle have been selected as National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners.
The recipients were chosen from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. Dry is a former student of The Sanibel School.
“The national merit scholarship is one of the most prestigious academic awards that a student can receive in high school,” Fort Myers High School Principal Dr. Robert Butz said. “The competition puts those winners as the top 1 percent of academic successes in the country. This accomplishment is a testament to their hard work and we are very proud of Dahlia and Ryan for this achievement.”
Winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.
The scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by the finalists and their schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a school official.
This year’s program began in October 2017 when over 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only the 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.
From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the program, about 7,600 finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of over $31 million in college scholarships.