Eight Students Named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit® Scholarship Program

Eight Students Named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit® Scholarship Program
Posted on 09/17/2020
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The School District of Lee County is excited to announce eight students have been selected as Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit® Scholarship Program. National Merit® Semifinalists represent less than 1% of all high school seniors.

The eight students are:

  • Genesis Carias - Bonita Springs High School
  • Kevin Dimaculangan - Dunbar High School
  • Brian Robinson - Estero High School
  • Carlos Torres-Cobian - Estero High School
  • Charles Cosby - Fort Myers High School
  • Thomas Penn - Fort Myers High School
  • Deven Shah - Fort Myers High School
  • Jack Moreland - Riverdale High School

Bonita Springs High School has its first graduating class in 2021 and its first National Merit® Scholarship semifinalist in Genesis Carias. “I am honored and pleased that I did so well to deserve this,” Genesis says. “Being the first in our school’s history to receive this academic honor is very exciting. It involved a lot of hard work and dedication.” Principal Jeff Estes adds, “Genesis is an incredibly gifted, talented, and special student. This well-deserved honor is a testament to her efforts, her families, and the school’s commitment to academic excellence. Congratulations, Genesis! Your Bull Shark Family is so proud of you!”

At Dunbar High School, semifinalist status is the latest award for Microsoft World Champion Kevin Dimaculangan. “Dunbar High School is proud to have such a talented student represent our exceptional IB STEM programs,” says Principal Carl Burnside. “Dunbar High School has as its motto, “Achievement Is The Expectation” and Kevin Dimaculangan continues to represent Dunbar High School and the School District of Lee County with so many outstanding achievements. Kevin will truly go down as one of Lee County’s finest academic achievers.”

Estero High School has its first semifinalists in six years. Carlos Torres-Cobian is a member of the Technology Student Association and Band. Brian Robinson is Student Government President and on the Cross-Country team. “We couldn’t be more proud of Carlos and Brian on being National Merit Semifinalists and representing less than 1% of all high school seniors!” says Principal Mike Amabile. “Brian and Carlos are hard workers and very involved with Estero High School, and they embody the Wildcat culture!”

Fort Myers High School has three semifinalists for 2021, Charles Cosby, Thomas Penn and Deven Shah. “All three students have proven to excel as they have taken on the difficult task of working through the very rigorous IB program at Fort Myers High School,” says Principal Dr. Robert Butz. “They have persevered even during the ever-changing academic world caused by the pandemic. We are very proud of all three students who have worked to become a part of a very elite group.”

A fourth Fort Myers High School student is also among the semifinalists. Anna Payne took the qualifying test while living in Texas and has since transferred to Fort Myers High School for her senior year.

At Riverdale High School, Jack Moreland is the first semifinalist since 2016. He is an IB student and member of the school’s swimming and diving team. “Jack is particularly gifted in Mathematics; however, he embodies the highly sought-after quality of well roundedness,” says IB Coordinator Tracy Budmayr. “Riverdale is extremely proud of Jack’s accomplishment of being amongst less than 1% of high school Seniors in the United States to be a National Merit Semifinalist. This honor is attributed to Jack’s intellectual capabilities as well as his tireless work ethic.”

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring.