Sunday, September 19, 2004

Schools tie for Merit honors



By Karen Gutierrez
Enquirer staff writer

PARK HILLS - Notre Dame Academy tied with Conner High School this year in producing three students who are National Merit Scholarship semifinalists - more than any other school in Northern Kentucky.

Across the street, Covington Catholic High School also did well on the annual measure of academic prowess, with two semifinalists.

The schools are single-gender. Could that be a factor?

Absolutely, students say.

"You can wake up and just roll out of bed and go to school," said Julie Duncan, 17, a semifinalist from Notre Dame. "You don't worry about how you look or if you're going to ask a stupid question and the boys are going to think you're weird."

Said Andrew Noll, a semifinalist from CovCath: "There's not a lot of distractions, but at the same time, we have a lot of fun."

CovCath last year was named by USA Today as one of the top 20 high schools in the country for watching a basketball game. Students are known for exhorting everyone to attend and making up new cheers as well as singing old ones.

As National Merit semifinalists, the students have a shot at 8,200 scholarships worth $33.9 million to various colleges. Winners will be announced in the spring.

High school juniors are automatically entered into the competition when they take the Preliminary SAT. Their scores determine whether they become semifinalists. To advance, they must complete a detailed application, be recommended by their schools and earn SAT scores similar to their PSAT results.

The Notre Dame and CovCath students said they felt well prepared for the PSAT.

"I like the intensity of the classes" at Notre Dame, said Laura Zerhusen, 17.

Here's more about the students:

• Zerhusen plans to study biology in college and is considering the University of Kentucky, Loyola University in Chicago and other schools.

• Duncan is undecided on a college or a major but jokes that she would love to "stay in school the rest of my life."

• Noll would like to study both engineering and music. He's undecided on a college.

• Julie Anderson, 17, is undecided on a major but wants to attend a small college.

• Michael Awadalla, 17, plans to study engineering. He's considering Purdue University, Stanford and the University of Virginia.

Other semifinalists

These are the other National Merit semifinalists from high schools in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties:

Bishop Brossart: Daniel Beck

Boone County: Lindsay Maurer

Calvary Christian: Jonathan Smith

Conner: Stacey Doran, Alexandra Luke, Allan Straub

Dixie Heights: Karen Etter, Matthew Liechty

Highlands: Jeffrey Steller, Jacob

Webster

Holmes: Keith Torrey

Home school: Michael Glier (Hebron)

Holy Cross: Ryan Sketch

Ryle: Brian Goessling, Shannon Horton

St. Henry: Jordan Martin

Villa Madonna Academy: Matthew Love, Christopher Polito

Walton-Verona: Max Gjerde

Southeast Indiana

East Central: Jeremy Holliday

Oldenburg Academy: Joel Wukusick

---

E-mail kgutierrez@enquirer.com




TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Events revive as boycott wanes
Where boycott succeeded, and where it failed
Boycott leaders: Where they are today
Crowds gathered early for downtown activities
It's red ribbon day for AIDS walk
More families choosing cremation
Images of cremation evoke Holocaust memories for Jews
Sewage plant fights to expand
Alabaman wins Miss America
Nude runner leads to robbery arrest
Weary, flood-soaked Ohioans wring hands and belongings
Man electrocuted at bakery plant
Local news briefs

KENTUCKY HEADLINES
New program helps youth build future
Florence, Boone disagree on how to use funds
Donations bolster drug strike force
NKU sinks hook into revitalizing area near lake
Covington scooter law advancing
Loveland sewer expansion moves ahead despite spat
Ludlow forum to take up pit bulls
Subdivision pitches in
Northern Kentucky news briefs

ELECTION 2004
One-party rule makes for ballot unevenness
Voinovich praises progress of joint breast cancer work
He calls 'em as he sees 'em
Portman vows not to take it easy
Canton mayor, GOP send mixed signals
Here's how and where to register to vote

EDUCATION
School dress codes wear thin
Schools tie for Merit honors
Teachers set to picket
Room and board at Miami rising 8.5%
West Clermont schools part of TV show

NEIGHBORS
Traffic signal flap eases
Liberty Township gets contract Post Office

ENQUIRER COLUMNS
Bronson: Jazz sax man was reflection of our spirit
Crowley: Lucas gives emotional, blunt review
Howard: Seventh-grader rises in national science contest

LIVES REMEMBERED
B.E. Bruning a repairman and gardener
Viola Heath had owned beauty salon