Each of six Pickerington high school seniors honored last fall for academic achievement remain in the running for national scholarships.

Each of six Pickerington high school seniors honored last fall for academic achievement remain in the running for national scholarships.

Pickerington High School Central seniors Ryan Knight, Sanjeev Kolli, Michael Morris and Mayuran Ravindran, and PHS North seniors Janelle Holmes and Kelly Turpin all have been selected as National Merit finalists in the 57th annual National Merit Scholarship program.

The seniors are among approximately 8,300 students across the United States still being considered for college scholarships of up to $2,500, according to the National Merit Scholarship Program. They were selected as finalists from a pool of some 15,000 high school seniors recognized by the program last September.

"This is quite an honor and I've very proud of these students," interim Superintendent Jim Sotlar said in announcing the finalists at a Feb. 13 Pickerington Board of Education meeting.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition that began in 1955. High school students enter the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test - a test that serves as an initial screening of approximately 1.5-million entrants each year - and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.

Semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state. Semifinalists advance to finalists by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each semifinalist.

Among those requirements, the students must be planning to enter college in the fall of 2012 or be enrolled in their first year of college. They also must have records of "consistently very high academic performance in all of grades nine through 12 and in any college course work taken," the National Merit Scholarship Corp.'s website says.

Knight is the son of Michael and April Knight. Last fall, he said he was considering attending Ohio State or Toledo universities, and he plans to study biomedical engineering.

Kolli is the son of Srinivas and Susmitha Kolli. In September, he said planned to study engineering. His list of potential schools includes the California Institute of Technology, Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, OSU, Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania.

Morris is the son of James and Lida Morris. He said last fall he plans to attend Duke University, MIT or Yale after graduation, and he intends to study biomedical engineering as a prelude to attending law or medical school.

Ravindran is the son of Ravi and Mira Ravindran. In addition to being a National Merit finalist, he recently was named a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholar award.

That program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars.

Those students receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June and a U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

Ravindran last fall was considering getting degrees in biology and business before moving on to medical school. He currently is eyeing Harvard University, Miami University (Ohio), OSU, the University of Virginia and Yale.

Holmes is the daughter of Danny and Jacquelynne Holmes. She and PHS Central senior Lauren Jackson also recently were named National Achievement Scholarship finalists, a privately funded academic competition initiated in 1964 to recognize academically promising black students throughout the nation and to provide scholarships to the most outstanding program participants.

Holmes last fall was considering attending George Washington University, New York University or Southern Adventist University, where she'll likely study archaeology, biology, environmental biology or "some mixture of the three."

Turpin is spending the 2011-12 school year as an exchange student in Russia. Her guidance counselor said she has applied to several colleges.