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Centennial student is scholarship semifinalist

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Centennial High School senior Maya Baumann shares a laugh with co-workers at United Arts and Education Oct. 1. Baumann is a semifinalist for the National Achievement Scholarship Program.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Centennial High School student Maya C. Baumann, a senior who is taking some courses at Ohio State University, was sitting in German class when she got a text from her theater teacher offering congratulations.

"That was nice, but what for?" she thought.

Then the theater teacher sent Baumann a screen shot of the Columbus City Schools Facebook page on which it was announced she and with Hayley F. Sanders-Turner at Columbus North International School, were named semifinalists in the 2014 National Achievement Scholarship Program.

"I was, like, 'Oh, wow, awesome!' " said Baumann, the daughter of Kendra Baumann.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding Black American high school students, according to the website of the National Merit Scholarship Corp. of Evanston, Ill.

This is the 50th year for the program aimed at helping top academically talented African American students, according to the announcement from Columbus City Schools communications officials.

Approximately 1,600 students nationwide are semifinalists, and have the opportunity to be among the 800 in the running for more than $2.5 million in scholarship awards.

"Out of African-American students, I was in the percentage that was high enough," a proud Baumann said last week.

It's been interesting journey so far for the young woman, who said he was born in the old Doctors North Hospital to a teen mother.

They moved around a lot when Maya was little, settling for a time with her grandmother in Clintonville before moving to the Northwest Side eight years ago.

From what might have been unsettling beginnings, Baumann has things pretty mapped out from here.

Passionate about music, she said she wants to enroll in the prestigious program at Northwestern University, taking with her the credits she's earning at OSU.

"I eventually want to do an ad hoc major for film scoring," Baumann said. "That's the dream for me."

Baumann, who must complete an essay by tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 11, as part of the next phase of the National Achievement Scholarship Program, hopes to not only get some money toward her college education but some nice points for her resume by making the cut to finalist.

"I think that would be very helpful," Baumann said. "I think it's going to look really great on college applications."

She's already made a major cut from the more than 160,000 students who enter the National Achievement Scholarship Program each year.

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