Four Gahanna Lincoln High School students recently were named semifinalists in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program. They qualified for the semifinals by scoring in the top 1 percent nationally on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualify Test.

Four Gahanna Lincoln High School students recently were named semifinalists in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program. They qualified for the semifinals by scoring in the top 1 percent nationally on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualify Test.

The students are eligible for some 8,200 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $35-million that will be offered in the spring.

Ryan Schlegel said he was not surprised he was named a National Merit semifinalist, but "I was kind of surprised at my score."

Schlegel said he didn't study and he does well on standardized tests. Science is his favorite subject at GLHS.

"I have always found it easy to understand science," he said. "You experience so much about the world."

Schlegel plans to attend Wake Forest University or the University of Maryland and major in political science.

Elizabeth Male said she usually does well on standardized tests so she was not surprised to be named a National Merit semifinalist.

"I had taken the SAT a few times," she said.

English has always been her favorite subject, she said.

"I like to write," she said.

Male plans to attend Kenyon College or Northwestern University, where she will major in an English field.

Anand Kumar said he wasn't surprised that he was named a semifinalist because he also usually does pretty well on standardized tests.

His favorite subjects are math and science, he said.

"I have always been good at them," he said. "They are pretty concrete, not subjective."

He might attend the Ohio State University because he is taking classes in postsecondary education through GLHS. He's also considering MIT and majoring in material science and engineering.

"I'm really interested in alternative energy," he said.

Adil Faqih said he was a little surprised to be named a semifinalist, but he did well on the SAT and ACT in earlier attempts. He was surprised, though, at how high his scores were.

His favorite subjects are biology and science.

"I have always had an interest there," he said. "I'm interested in how life works."

He plans to attend Johns Hopkins University, Duke University or OSU and major in biomedical engineering. His dad is an engineer and his mom works at the OSU medical center.

"It is a mix of both worlds," Faqih said. "My mom guided me to choose that major."

Faqih also was named a National Achievement Scholarship semifinalist. The Achievement program, conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corp., is a privately funded academic competition initiated in 1964 to recognize promising black students throughout the nation and to provide scholarships to a substantial number of the most outstanding participants, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

About 90 percent of the Merit semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and roughly half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Three types of National Merit Scholarship awards will be offered. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 $2,500 National Merit Scholarships awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,100 corporate-sponsored scholarships will be provided by corporations and business organizations, and 200 colleges and university will finance 4,600 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com