136 Scholarship Semifinalists : Pasadena Leads With 26 in National Merit Program

Times Staff Writer

Some 136 San Gabriel Valley students are among 15,000 semifinalists in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship competition for 1990.

Pasadena led the sweep with 26 semifinalists, 20 of them from Polytechnic School alone. San Marino High School logged 10; South Pasadena High School had six, and Glen A. Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights, four.

Nationwide, about 0.5% of each state’s senior students qualified as semifinalists. They were selected from more than 1 million students in 19,000 high schools who entered the 1990 Merit Program as juniors by taking the 1988 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test and National Merit’s scholarship test.


To qualify as finalists, students must have outstanding academic records, be recommended by their school principals and complete an application that includes detailed information about their scholastic and extracurricular accomplishments.

$23 Million in Scholarships

About 90% of the 15,000 semifinalists will become finalists, and more than 6,000 of those will receive scholarships worth about $23 million in all. Winners will be announced in the spring, after a rigorous selection process that considers students’ academic course loads, the difficulty of their classes, grades earned, test scores, demonstrated leadership and contributions to school and community, plans, goals, and recommendations from school officials.

Three types of merit scholarships will be awarded, supported by 600 sponsor organizations and institutions and the National Merit Scholarship Corp.’s own funds.

Every finalist has a chance to win one of the 1,800 scholarships of $2,000.

About 1,300 scholarships will be underwritten by corporations and foundations.

Colleges Participate

More than 2,900 scholarships will be financed by colleges and universities for students attending those schools.

In another competition conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., eight San Gabriel Valley students were among 1,500 semifinalists in the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students.

More than 90,000 black students nationwide took the two required tests in 1988 and requested consideration for this achievement program. Black students can also compete in the National Merit Program, but winners are eligible for scholarships in either National Merit or National Achievement, not both.


The National Achievement semifinalists, who represent top-scoring black students, will compete for 725 scholarships worth nearly $3 million to be awarded in March. The scholarships are underwritten by colleges, businesses and foundations.

Since the program was founded in 1965, more than 13,200 outstanding black students have won achievement scholarships valued at $41 million. In national merit competition, which started in 1956, more than 115,000 students have been awarded scholarships worth $355 million.

Semifinalists for the National

Merit Scholarship Program


Alhambra High School: Tuan M. Le, Jesse J. Szeto.

Ramona Convent Secondary School: Linda Shpegel.


Arcadia High School: Kenneth W. Branson, Sindey K. Chung, J. Enrique Colayco, Bonnie S. Flinn, Norbert Hsu, Jacqueline M. Luk, Douglas E. McCreary, Regina M. Momblanco, David S. Park, Henry C. Tseng.


Claremont High School: John B. Baker, Laszlo Bock, Jason T. Corley, Camille S. Johnson, Matthew A. Light, Rebecca B. Martin, George C. Nierlich, Whitty Somvichian, Evonne H. Waterman, Aurelia K. Wong.

Vivian Webb School for Girls: Lily J. Huang, Yulie Y. Kwon, Sandy Y. Lee.

Webb School of California: Raymond Hsieh, Leonard K. Rhee, Jeffrey B. St. John.


Northview High School: Laura K. Burkhart.

Diamond Bar

Diamond Bar High School: Jennifer L. Hock, Chi-Cun D. Lee, Edward Lee, Jason T. Lee, Edward M. Lim.


Glendora High School: Keith W. Curley, Stacy M. Schlutsmeyer.

St. Lucy’s Priory School: Araceli N. Graham.

Hacienda Heights

Los Altos High School: David B. Brearley, Gregory K. Jung, Kelsey M. Palmer.

Glenn A. Wilson High School: Annie C. Chen, Dennis J. Chia, Amy K. Palenchar, Vaijayanthy Rangarajan.


La Verne

Damien High School: Michel K. Rowe.


Monrovia High School: Bryan Lee.


Imperial High School: Rose M. Roberts.

La Salle High School: Andy Law.

John Muir High School: Rachel M. Kousser.

Polytechnic School: Andrew A. Esbenshade, Douglas E. Feldman, Heather N. Feldmeth, David S. Filippi, Rebecca Gertmenian, Philip M. Grant, Lance E. Gravely, Joanna L. Grisinger, Andrew W. Heger, Amy Y. Horng, Michelle D. Hsu, Michael A. Kaufman, Boris Livshitz, Shabnum E. Matthews, Douglas W. Rusnack, Kelly G. Smith, Anne L. Su, Shauna K. Toh, Eric P. Trautwein, Allen L. Tsai.

Westridge School for Girls: Elizabeth T. Gastley, Cathy R. Kim, Kristy L. Wheeler.

Rowland Heights

John A. Rowland High School: Amy Y. Liang.

San Dimas

Bonita High School: George F. Alexander.

San Dimas High School: Nancy K. Nakada.

San Gabriel

San Gabriel High School: Matthew T. Slimp, Dennis H. Wu.

San Marino

San Marino High School: AveMaria Bortz, Hunter B. Chen, John J. Hsu, Roger Y. Lai, Arlinda A. Lee, Andrea Papanastassiou, JiJi J. Park, Necia D. Stanford, Yvonne Tsai, David A.Zuckerman.

Sierra Madre

Maranatha High School: Elliot E. Hui.

South Pasadena

South Pasadena High School: Thomas L. Blanchard, Michael Elraheb, Weyland Jung, Dietrich D. Lame, Josh Y. Levy, Peter J. Park.

Temple City

Temple City High School: Tina H. Mai, Sangeeta Sinha.


Walnut High School: Gina M. Romo.

Semifinalists for the 1990

National Achievement

Scholarship Program for

Outstanding Negro Students


Claremont High School: Itzel D. Berrio.


Western Christian School: Karla R. Barrow


Monrovia High School: Shana L. Strong


John Muir High School: Andre L. Akins, Rhonda L. Robinson, Emily L. Streeter.

Polytechnic School: Lance E. Gravely.

Westridge School for Girls: Julie A. Carter.