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Distinguished scholars from county recognized

September 10, 2007

Nine Washington County Public Schools students and two local private school students were among 800 students named finalists and semifinalists in Maryland's Distinguished Scholar Recognition ceremony Saturday in Reitz Arena on the campus of Loyola College in Baltimore, according to a Maryland Higher Education Commission press release.

The recognition program honors Maryland high school seniors who have met the stringent requirements of the Distinguished Scholar Program.

The daylong event featured performances and exhibits by high school students, workshops on financial aid, opportunities for students to learn about Maryland colleges and universities, and a recognition ceremony.

Finalists from Washington County are:

· David E. Lehman of Boonsboro High School

· David Kurz of Smithsburg High School

·Semifinalists are

· Brennen P. Baylor, Blaine A. Ford and Julia S. Friedrich, all of Boonsboro High School

· Meghan Dudley of North Hagerstown High School

· Laura E. Baldasarre of Smithsburg High School

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· Julie A. Cook and Allison Zube of Williamsport High School

· Dondi J. Ellis and Gabriella M. Schiro of Saint Maria Goretti High School

Maryland Higher Education Commission Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., Gov. Martin O'Malley, former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume and Loyola College Vice President Marc Camille were expected to attend and speak, according to the release.

The Distinguished Scholar Program offers $3,000 per year for four years to the state's top high school students as an incentive for them to go to college in Maryland. Application for the scholarship is made during the student's junior year.

Applicants in the achievement category must have an unweighted grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.7 on a 4.0 scale, and are ranked on the basis of GPA and SAT/PSAT/ACT test scores. Students nominated in the talent category (vocal and instrumental music, dance, drama and visual arts) must audition before a panel of professionals.

National Merit and National Achievement finalists, identified in their senior year, automatically are eligible for the scholarship, according to the release.

The $4.2 million program provides 350 new scholarships each year plus continuing awards to students who maintain a 3.0 GPA in college. The scholarship can be used for any college-related expense at any degree-granting institution in Maryland.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is Maryland's higher education coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and for private career schools.

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