The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, or NMSC, last week announced this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners, which included a handful of Pasadena graduating seniors among its 2,500 total recipients.
Michael Deschenes and Katrina Manaloto, both Pasadena residents, earned scholarships this year. Deschenes, who will graduate from Polytechnic School in Pasadena, plans to study for a legal career, and Manaloto, who attended Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada Flintridge, plans to study neuroscience. Additionally, Leah Soldner, a South Pasadena resident who will graduate from Westridge School in Pasadena, received a scholarship and plans to study aerospace engineering.
All of their scholarships are being funded by NMSC.
The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.
These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools, such as their academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.
NMSC finances most of these single-payment National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.