Students Earn National Merit Recognition

WHEELING – More than 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $35 million are up for grabs next spring and three Ohio County students have the opportunity to compete for them.

Marshall County is also represented in the competition by Tanner Matthew Filben from John Marshall High School.

Last week, James Coleman of Wheeling, Karen Laska of Triadelphia and Karl Mueller of Wheeling learned they had placed among roughly 16,000 semifinalists, thanks to the results of their 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

All three semifinalists are seniors at Wheeling Park High School.

Mueller is the son of Karl and Cindy Mueller. He has a 4.58 GPA and plans to study computer science technology in college.

Laska is the daughter of Tadeusz and Mary Laska. She has a 4.7 GPA and plans to study both international studies and law in college.

Coleman is the son of Matt and Jackie Coleman. He has a 4.7 GPA and plans to study mechanical and aerospace engineering in college.

The next step in the program is for Coleman, Mueller and Laska to submit scholarship applications detailing their full academic and extracurricular profiles. The school also must endorse the semifinalists to help them qualify.

School counselor Sallie Minor said the students will have no trouble finding endorsements from the high school.

“As a school and a city, we couldn’t be more proud of these individual students and their amazing academic accomplishments,” Minor said. “WPHS wishes them the best of luck in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Competition.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program, established in 1955, underwrites scholarships with its own funds and works with about 440 business organizations and higher education institutions to encourage academic excellence.

Scholars are selected based on skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Finalists, chosen in early 2014, compete for 2,500 scholarships for $2,500 apiece. Another 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will come from roughly 240 corporations and business organizations who qualify for their individual criteria. Another 4,500 college-sponsored scholarships will be presented by 200 participating colleges and universities. All winners will be announced in April.