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Richard Lee's Academic Excellence "Pays Off"
WRITTEN BY :   Deborah Won, Intern

Studying and hard work has paid off for Richard Lee, the only student at Warren High School who has been selected as a National Merit Semi-Finalist for his commendable score on the PSATs. Now a senior, Lee took the PSATs his junior year and was recently notified of being selected as one of the semi-finalists in the nation.
“I simply signed up for the PSATs during my junior year and hoped for the best as I took it,” said Lee when asked to explain what he did in order to become a National Merit Semi-Finalist. “The NMSC uses the PSAT score as the sole basis of choosing its semi-finalists.”
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes exceptional students throughout the country, and provides various scholarship opportunities for selectees. The only way students are selected is through the PSAT test, and those who make the “cut-off” score, which varies from state to state, are entered into the competition. Those who become National Merit recipients are recognized on college applications, and those who reach the final round of National Merit are awarded with innumerous amounts of scholarships. For Lee, he only has to be selected as a Finalist in the next round, then make the final cut, in order to be a recipient of the various scholarships associated with National Merit.
“Only time can tell if I receive any tangible benefits, especially those in the form of checks,” said Lee. “However, it sure looks good on your resume and college applications.”
The National Merit program is a highly competitive system, where essentially any individual who takes the PSATs may be a candidate to follow in the fortunate footsteps of Lee.
“My advice is, and you can quote me on this: believe it or not, studying can pay off, literally!” said Lee when asked if he had any advice for other students. “Pursue your goals, especially if free money is involved.”
An academically competitive student, Lee wishes to attend the University of Pennsylvania after graduating high school, and plans to major in Biochemistry with a pre-Medicine emphasis.
“My biggest aspiration, however, is working in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Navy after having the government pay for my med-school tuition,” said Lee. “In the end, we both win.”
In addition to being a National Merit Semi-Finalist, Lee has been recognized for academic excellence in several other ways. Lee has received numerous Golden Bear awards at Warren, represented the school as a delegate to the California’s Golden Boys’ State in 2008, studied biomedicine at the University of Pennsylvania for a month this past summer, and is currently the captain of the golf team and a part of Warren’s solar boat team.

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Published: October 16, 2009 – Volume 8 – Issue 26



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