Four Pickerington High School Central students have been named 2009 National Merit Scholarship finalists.

Four Pickerington High School Central students have been named 2009 National Merit Scholarship finalists.

Seniors Bethany Blakely, Jeremy McCracken, Nathaniel Robinson and Adam Taylor recently were among the approximately 15,000 U.S. high school students named as finalists for scholarships from the nonprofit National Merit Scholarship Corp.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test, according to the NMSC's Web site. Each semifinalist and a high school official must 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.

The Central students -- who each will graduate with grade-point averages in the top 10 of their class -- last week said they were pleased to be recognized for their scholastic efforts, and they're eager to start their post-high school lives.

Blakely, daughter of Mark and Lynn Dembski, is headed to Ohio Northern University after graduation. She's received a $25,000 scholarship to study biology.

"I've decided to major in biology with a focus on ecology and field biology and minor in music," Blakely said. "As for a career, I'd like to go into research and probably be a professor. That would be a great job."

Blakely has been accepted to ONU's honors program, which she hopes will help her gain admission to a graduate school four years from now. While she'll be looking to meet new people in college, she'll be attending the school with longtime friend, Jenny Krauss, who also has been accepted to ONU's honor's program.

"I'm just ready to move on," Blakely said. "I'm going to enjoy my time left (at Central), but I'm in eager anticipation of what's to come."

McCracken, son of Steven and Jeanne McCracken, plans to attend The Ohio State University, where he'll study engineering.

"I'm planning on going into engineering, probably materials science engineering," he said. "There's actually a lot of demand for it right now."

McCracken hopes his study will lead to work with companies seeking to develop new materials for their products, or to apply existing materials to evolving designs. He'll start his work after about four months of summer vacation.

"I'm looking forward to getting to work in my major," he said. "I'm really interested in that.

Robinson is the son of Bryan Robinson and Lisa Robinson-Boyer. He has a full scholarship to Ohio State, but Case Western Reserve University and Otterbein College remain in the running for his college choice.

Whichever school he attends, Robinson also is looking to enter a science-related field.

"I'll probably major in something molecular biology-related, or biochemistry," he said. "After that, I'll probably go to med school, but that could definitely change."

Robinson said he's interested in those areas of study because he enjoys problem-solving. He also is looking forward to the challenges and changes that life after high school presents.

"I'm ready to be out on my own," he said. "I'm ready for the independence that college provides."

Taylor is the son of Doug Taylor and Jill Schellhase. He said becoming a National Merit Scholarship finalist has been on his radar, in addition to enrolling at Ohio State.

"I think it was a goal," he said. "I'd seen previous winners, and my parents were both finalists."

At Ohio State, Taylor plans to study chemistry.

"I want to major in chemistry with a pre-med emphasis, and after (undergraduate studies) go to med school.

"I'm kind of looking at everything (in terms of practice). My mom's a family doctor, so I'm kind of looking at that."