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Student scholars from across CCSD are National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists

National Merit Scholarship logo Student scholars from across the Cherry Creek School District have earned the prestigious status of National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists, an honor that’s all the more impressive after a year that’s offered plenty of hurdles and challenges.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a national program designed to recognize extraordinary student scholarship. SAT scores are one standard for the Semifinalist designation, which also figures in GPA, extracurricular activities and other factors. Students from Cherry Creek, Cherokee Trail, Grandview, Eaglecrest, Elevation and Overland all earned the honor this year, which means their scores on the SAT or PSAT ranked in the top one percent from the entire state.

Four Grandview students, one Eaglecrest student, five Cherokee Trail students, one Overland student and one Elevation student are National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists. Fifty students from Cherry Creek High School are National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists.

“These student scholars epitomize excellence,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegfried. “In a year that’s posed challenges and changes, they kept up their commitment to learning and achievement. Congratulations to all of the district’s National Merit Scholarship semifinalists!”

The 50 CCHS students who earned the honor include those who were unable to take the PSAT in October, 2019, due to adverse weather conditions. That means that among the 50 CCHS students recognized, many took the SAT in the first six months of 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic made those opportunities more difficult. The fact that so many students persisted in finding chances to take the test speaks to the culture and commitment of the school and the Cherry Creek School District, according to Craig Wittgrove CCHS counselor and post graduate coordinator.

“Some of these students were originally supposed to take the test in October, but they couldn’t because of a snow day. They were allowed to take an alternate entry any time between October and June. Because of the pandemic that hit in March, so many testing opportunities were canceled,” Wittgrove said. “The pandemic changed how these students were taught, how they went about preparing. They were still able to get a score like that.”

Indeed, the circumstances had pushed Wittgrove to lower his expectations before the school received the official results.

“I thought we were going to be the polar opposite. I thought we were only going to have 10 or so because of the circumstances this year. I didn’t think students were going to be able to get the SAT in,” he said. “I think these results really speak to the commitment our students have to scholarship, even in the face of adversity.”

“This is a big deal,” he added.

Posted 1/12/2021 at 1:30 PM