Lauren Barnes, a student at Groveport Madison High School, recently became a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.

Barnes, the daughter of John and Lisa Barnes of Groveport, will find out in February if she will advance to being a finalist. She has the opportunity to compete for some 7,500 National Merit scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

Around 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

Lauren hopes to major in environmental studies and eventually earn a law degree.

"Climate change has always been something I can't help but pay attention to," she said. "As a kid, there was not much I could do about it. If I become an environmental lawyer, it will be my job to do something about it."

She has already earned some college credit by taking Advanced Placement courses. She also is taking classes at Ohio State University this year.

"My mother always taught me school is what you make of it," she said. "If you want to succeed, you will."