Grandview Heights High School senior Zach Clemens has been named as a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program.

Grandview Heights High School senior Zach Clemens has been named as a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship program.

Clemens is one of about 16,000 high school students nationwide whose top scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) administered in 2011 earned them the semifinalist honor.

About 1.5 million juniors took the test last year, and about 15,000 students are expected to advance in February to the finalist level, where they will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships, to be awarded on a state representational basis.

The finalists also will compete for about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships and 4,800 college-sponsored scholarships.

Clemens is a member of the school's soccer team, participates in the FIRST Robotics squad and is a member of ski club.

His favorite subject is science.

"I like all of the sciences," Clemens said. "I'm really interested in life science and learning about how the world works."

He plans to major in biological science or marine biology in college.

"I went on a school trip to the Bahamas between my sophomore and junior year, and that really made me interested in marine biology," he said.

Six Grandview High School students have been named as commended students in the competition.

They are: Ben Brannan, Chad Carter, Anna Field, Julie Menke, Maddy Varner and Taylor Woodhouse.

Although commended students do not continue in the competition for National Merit scholarships, some will become candidates for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

Like Clemens, Brannan participates in soccer, FIRST and the ski club.

He said his favorite classes are math and chemistry.

"I just enjoy the logic behind math and I find chemistry really interesting," Brannan said. "I will probably major in engineering or chemistry in college."

Carter is on the swim team, participates in the school band and will be in the fall play and spring musical.

His favorite classes include French and math.

"I like French because I'm interested in learning a new language and learning to speak it," Carter said.

He said he expects to major in either linguistics or engineering in college.

"I'm intrigued with how people use language, so linguistics would be fun to study," Carter said.

A member of National Honor Society, Field also plays in the marching band, is on the bowling team and takes part in the school's theater productions, both on stage and behind the scenes.

Field's favorite classes are English and history.

"History just fascinates me," she said. "I like learning about the past and how the past influences the present."

She has an interest in pursuing a major in either theater or education and perhaps becoming an English teacher someday, Field said.

Menke participates in soccer, swimming, track and field, student council, National Honor Society and the French Club.

"My favorite class would be French, because I really like learning about different cultures," she said. "As a career, I'd like to do something involving languages or international relations. I would love to learn different languages and travel around the world."

Varner spends her days attending classes at Ohio State University as part of its academy program.

"I've been attending classes there since my junior year," she said. "I did a lot of student teaching there last year. If all goes well, by the end of this year I'll have earned my way into junior year at OSU, if I decide to stay there."

Varner said she would like to pursue a career in computer science or the visual arts.

This year, she is working on motion-capture animation projects, in which cameras are used to record the movement of actors and translate the information to animate digital character models in computer animation.

"It's a fun process," Varner said. "I'd like to work as a technical director in films or perhaps help design computer games."

A participant in the school's soccer team, French Club and band, Woodhouse names English as her favorite subject.

"I've always enjoyed reading and writing," she said. "I like reading it all."

She said she plans to apply to and hopes to attend Loyola University Chicago.

For a small school such as Grandview, having seven students earning National Merit honors reflects well on the students and the school, Principal Dawn Sayre said.

"These are talented, kind and involved students," she said. "They are model students."