The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

September 11, 2013

Teen is Merit Scholar semifinalist

GROVE CITY — A Grove City girl is the only local high school student to be named a semifinalist in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Maria J. Wolinski, 16, a daughter of Katrina and Jeff Wolinski of 806 Tidball Ave., is a senior at Grove City High School.

“I’m excited for her,” Mrs. Wolinski said Monday of her daughter, a busy and “bright” teenager who skipped the sixth grade.

The program is in its 59th year and 16,000 semifinalists, all high school seniors, across the country have been announced. They’re required to go through a rigorous application process to be considered for the scholarship awards, according to a news release issued by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., a nonprofit organization.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists will be named finalists, and more than half of the finalists will be awarded a scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title; about $35 million in scholarships will be handed out in the spring to “the nation’s scholastic champions.”

“I think she will give it her best shot,” Mrs. Wolinski said of Maria’s chances at becoming a Merit Scholar.

Maria enjoys math and is on the high school swim team, runs cross country, is a member of the National Honor Society and is active in her youth group at the family’s church, Grove City Alliance Church.

“She’s very sweet and she’s a hard worker, and she really loves the Lord. She’s a strong Christian,” Mrs. Wolinski said.

She hasn’t decided yet where she wants to go to college after she graduates, but she has a pretty good-sized wish list, her mother said.

“It’s so wide open,” she said.

Maria also loves to read and sing and will be graduating alongside her sister, Anna 17, who is also a senior.

National Merit scholarships are underwritten by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., Evanston, Ill., with its own funds and by about 440 business organizations and higher education institutions.

About 1.5 millions students from more than 22,000 high schools applied for the 2014 program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

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