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Jags National Merit Scholarship semifinalists beam with pride

Four Rock Canyon High School students were recently named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. Pictured left to right: Jessica Dobler, Chase Henry, Lucas Laughlin, and Gabriel Tauber.

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photo courtesy of Kathleen Kennedy

Four Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) students – Gabriel Tauber, Jessica Dobler, Lucas Laughlin, and Chase Henry were recently named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, an honor in academic excellence. Tauber, Dobler and Laughlin are Castle Pines residents who, in addition to Henry, performed in the top one percent in the country on the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test (PSAT/NMSQT) last fall, making them eligible to compete for scholarships that, all combined, are worth about $33 million.

Beginning with 1.5 million high school students who take the PSAT/NMSQT and meet other program requirements, only 50,000 high scoring entrants qualify for recognition based on the sum of critical reading, math and writing skills scores.

Only one third (about 16,000) of the 50,000 high scorers are then notified that they have qualified as semifinalists, the highest scoring entrants in each state. Semifinalists have the opportunity to advance in the competition for the 7,600 National Merit Scholarships.

Tauber and Dobler were surprised when RCHS administration, including Principal Andy Abner showed up in their class and announced that they were semifinalists. Tauber said, “My first thought was that I didn’t have to finish my physics problem, but I am very excited and proud I was able to get this far. I’m thankful for the opportunity to put myself out there and show what I’ve done as a person.”

It takes more than just good test scores to be a National Merit scholar. Tauber is on varsity track and cross country as well as the first president of the school orchestra. Dobler is part of a club rowing team that practices most days after school. Dobler said, “It’s wonderful to be fully engaged in something with my teammates, to get away from it all and be on the water.”

Laughlin said, “I was absent the day of the announcement but found out I was a semifinalist the next day. I feel lucky to have this opportunity to pursue a scholarship and am thankful to my parents and teachers for helping me.” Laughlin is vice president of the bio-tech club and loves learning how to build things. He is currently building a computer and a sound system.

All four RCHS students just submitted their applications toward being named National Merit Scholarship finalists and we wish them the best!



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