Four St. Mary's Academy seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, ranking in the top 1 percent of U.S. high schoolers taking the preliminary qualifying test. Nine students from St. Mary's have been named commended students, placing them among the top 5 percent.

Semifinalists will continue in the competition for some 8,300 National
Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million to be offered next
spring. About 15,000 of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the
finalist level.

It's "very affirming" to see a national, outside agency acknowledge the St. Mary's students, said Patricia Barr, the school's principal.

The semifinalists are Kate Brouns, Nan Campbell, Karen Myers and Julia Renner.
Commended students are Katherine Ambrose, Caitlie Baglien, Aissa Bennett, Julia Karr, Claire Martin, Allison Nasson, Ella Sugerman, Avery Thompson and Maia
Watkins.