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Seven Local Students Earn National Merit Scholarships


The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced that seven students who graduated recently from Reno-area high schools have been awarded college-sponsored scholarships for the 2017-18 school year.

These merit scholar designees join more than 3,200 other college-sponsored award recipients whose names were announced in June.

“We are proud of these outstanding students who have worked hard to earn these scholarships,” Washoe County School District Deputy Superintendent Kristen McNeill said in a statement. “We wish them the best as they begin their college careers, and join with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in congratulating them and their families for this great accomplishment.”

Students will receive annual awards ranging from $500 to $2,000 for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. This year, 182 higher education institutions are sponsoring more than 4,000 merit scholarship awards. Sponsor colleges and universities include 103 private and 29 public institutions located in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

List of winners (in alphabetical order):

  • Melissa Bak, Davidson Academy of Nevada, Northwestern University
  • Will Combs, Davidson Academy of Nevada, University of Chicago
  • Daniel Gollery, Incline High School, UNR
  • John Lee, Galena High School, UNR
  • Andrew Swackhamer, Wooster High School, UNR
  • Molly Willoughby, Damonte Ranch High School, UNR
  • Flora Wong, Wooster High School, Boston University

“Any attempt to compare high schools on the basis of numbers of merit scholarship winners will lead to erroneous and unsound conclusions,” a statement from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation said. “The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system, or state.”

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Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.