The Columbus Academy continued a tradition of strong student performance on the SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test this year, falling just short of matching the school's all-time record for the number of students qualifying as semifinalists.

The Columbus Academy continued a tradition of strong student performance on the SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test this year, falling just short of matching the school's all-time record for the number of students qualifying as semifinalists.

This year, 12 members of the class of 2010 earned the title of semifinalist by scoring in the top one percent of all 1.5-million students in the nation who took the test in 2008. They share the designation with 16,000 students nationwide and are now eligible for approximately 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36-million, that will be offered next spring.

This year's semifinalists include:

Margaret Coons of Columbus. Coons runs with the school's cross country and track teams. She also participates in Amnesty International as co-chair and the school yearbook as editor and sings with the Columbus Children's Choir Girls A Cappella group. She is undecided on what she intends to study in college.

Lauren D'Souza of Galena. D'Souza is a member of the Spanish club, plays piano, runs cross country and works on the school's literary magazine, Quest. While she is waiting until college to set her career goals, D'Souza said she in particularly interested in foreign languages, community service and creative writing.

Sarah Kahwash of New Albany. Kawash is a member of the Academy volleyball team. In addition she is a member of student council and the social justice and sustainability committee. She works part-time at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna. While she is undecided as to her career goals, Kahwash said she is considering medicine, international relations and law.

Wesley Lee of Gahanna. In addition to being named a semifinalist, Lee earned the distinction of scoring among the top 12 students in the state of Ohio. Last year, more than 53,000 Ohio students took the test. Lee runs cross country and participates in various math clubs and competitions. He plans to pursue a career in math or science.

Mallika Marar of Blacklick. Marar is involved with the school's service board and plays tennis. She also volunteers at Nationwide Children's Hospital and is planning a career in medicine.

Andrew Meiburg of Gahanna. Meiberg is the starting goalkeeper for the varsity soccer team and volunteers as a high school worker for the middle school youth group at his church. He is planning a career in medicine.

Nisha Nataraj of Gahanna. Nataraj plays tennis, sings in the choir, plays the piano, and is a member of the school's service board and social justice and sustainability committee. She is planning a career in medicine.

Jacob Peters of Lockbourne. Peters is a varsity football player and two-year varsity wrestling team captain. He is co-leader of the social justice and sustainability committee, leader of the school's environmental action and school garden and senior class president. Outside of school he serves as a Sunday school teacher and his 4-H Club's vice president. Peters said his goal is to become a diplomat working either for the State Department or the United Nations.

Mark Spigos of Worthington. Spigos plays basketball, is involved with the discipline and honor committee and Music Club. He is planning a writing career with potential focus on sports journalism.

Natalie Szykowny of Bexley. Szykowny plays volleyball, swims and runs track. She is undecided on her career goals.

Robert Wirthman of Columbus. Wirthman is a cross country team captain and plays varsity basketball and track. He is planning a career in science.

Max Yano of Columbus. Yano is a member of the school's In The Know team, political club, robotics team and swim team. Yano plans to study the sciences and pursue a doctorate degree.

The semifinalists represent more than 13 percent of the 92-member class of 2010. Columbus Academy also had 12 semifinalists in 2004, trailing only the school-record of 15 in 2008.

Last year, seven of Academy's eight semifinalists went on to win National Merit Scholarships, the most of any school in central Ohio.