New Albany High School has four National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: Joydeep Ganguly, Max Kreminski, Arman Odabas and Nick Willer.

New Albany High School has four National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: Joydeep Ganguly, Max Kreminski, Arman Odabas and Nick Willer.

The National Merit Scholarship program is an academic competition that began in 1955. High school students enter by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

New Albany's four semifinalists can submit applications to be considered for 2,500 scholarships valued at $2,500. Other corporate-sponsored scholarships are available to 1,000 students who meet specified criteria, and another 4,900 college-sponsored scholarships are available through 200 colleges and universities, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

Finalists will be announced in the spring.

"This is a really, really strong group and may be our first all-male group," said NAHS college counselor Jeff Stahlman.

Ganguly, 17, is on the New Albany High School Science Olympiad team and has lettered in cross country and track three years.

He said his senior seminar project -- a graduation requirement at New Albany High School -- has heavily influenced him. He interned at the Ohio State University in a program attempting to grow graphene, a type of carbon that is one atom thick and has electrical properties.

That sparked his interest in science, he said, and his AP Java computer science class and economics classes also have been beneficial.

"We have lots of resources here and a really good staff," Ganguly said. "The school culture promotes excellence."

Kreminski, 17, is a member of the Science Olympiad and the In the Know quiz team.

He said he further explored his interest in computer science through his senior seminar project, creating a computer game application that he hopes to market.

"I am interested in computer science and senior seminar made me interested in game design," Kreminski said. Odabas, 17, is in marching band and on the high school rowing team. He said his interest in biosciences peaked while in New Albany schools.

"I've loved the science classes here and the speakers we've gotten to hear from, such as (former Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice," he said.

Odabas said he also explored a science-related interest through his senior seminar project.

"Senior seminar is a great way to explore our interests. I had an interest in exercise physiology," he said. "Not only do you get to do something you love, you earn credit for it as well."

Willer, 18, is in the marching band, and he said his experience working as a digital network assistant in New Albany has helped him hone his computer skills and determine career interest. DNAs rebuild the district's computers over the summer and complete other information technology projects throughout the school year.

"Being a DNA is one of the best ways to get into the field," he said. "I took the AP computer science course last year and am in the Cisco networking academy this year."

Students in the academy can become Cisco-certified entry network technicians.

Willer plans to study computer science and engineering; Odabas plans to study biosciences; Ganguly plans to study electrical or computer engineering; and Kreminski plans to study computer science and computer programming. None have decided on colleges.

New Albany High School also had 10 National Merit commended scholars: Elissa Burack, Mieley Conrad, Jarred Glickstein, Emily Makowski, Haley McLellan, Davan Pohar, Arushi Sharma, Abigail Smith, Travis Wolf and Max Yudovich.

They do not continue in the competition for National Merit scholarships, though they are eligible for some special scholarships.