Two Pickerington High School North students have been named semifinalists in the 55th annual National Merit Scholarship program.

Two Pickerington High School North students have been named semifinalists in the 55th annual National Merit Scholarship program.

North seniors Kathryn Gardocki and Brian Good both will turn 18 On Dec. 3. Birthdays aren't the only thing they share, however. Both are in the hunt for 8,200 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $36-million, which will be granted to high school seniors throughout the U.S. next spring.

"They're just awesome," Linda Kelly, director of counseling at North, said of the students. "They're friendly, they're outgoing and they're involved.

"Those kinds of kids you wish would be everywhere. You can't say enough good things about them."

To become a National Merit semifinalist, students must have outstanding academic records throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by their high school principals and earn SAT scores that confirm the their earlier performances on the qualifying test, according to the NMSC's Web site.

Each semifinalist and a high school official will submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's self-descriptive essay and information about his or her participation and leadership in school and community activities, in hopes of becoming a finalist and possibly landing a scholarship.

Gardocki, daughter of Paul and Alice Gardocki, to date carries a 4.32 grade-point average. She's also a member of the North marching and pep bands, National Honor Society and is a statistician for the North boys volleyball team.

"I am so happy and proud of myself," she said. "Maybe I was just having a good day when I took that test, but I feel like it gives credit to how hard I've always worked in school."

Outside school, Gardocki is a part-time cashier at Kroger. She's also a youth group leadership team member at her church and participates in Pickerington Youth Athletic Association volleyball.

Next fall, Gardocki hopes to stay in Ohio for college, where she'll likely pursue an education degree. She hopes to become a high school guidance counselor after college.

"My first choice of colleges is, as of now, the University of Dayton," she said. "I also plan to apply to Ohio State University and Notre Dame."

Good, son of Carolyn and Steve Good, has earned a 4.35 grade-point average. He plays varsity tennis at North, and is a member of the In the Know Team, German Club, marching and symphonic bands, as well as National Honor Society.

"I'm excited and honored to be named a semifinalist and it is especially meaningful because my brother, David (class of 2006), was also a National Merit finalist," Good said.

Good keeps busy with his church's youth group and piano lessons away from school. After graduation, he plans to study science and music.

"I have not made a final decision, but I'm applying to Vanderbilt University, DePauw University and several others," he said.

In the meantime, Gardocki and Good said they're looking forward to enjoying their senior year.

Good has goals on the tennis court and in the classroom.

"I'd like to graduate in the top 10 of my class," he said. "I'd like to make it to the district competition this tennis season."

Gardocki said she plans to avoid senior pitfalls and hopes to join SunnySide Up, a club whose members are selected by the school staff for exhibiting leadership skills.

"I'm hoping to make it through the year in one piece," she said. "My best friend and I have also wanted to be invited to join SunnySide Up since freshman year."

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain National Merit finalist standing, according to Lee Cole, communications director for the Pickerington Local School District. She said approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the title of Merit Scholar.

nellis@thisweeknews.com