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For Immediate Release — September 28, 2010 |
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officers | (703) 588-3260
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officers | (703) 588-3268

ARLINGTON, VA — September 28, 2010 — Three Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) students were selected as Semifinalists in the in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP).

The DoDEA Semifinalists are:

  • Benjamin Bigelow, Brussels American School
  • Maria Perry, SHAPE American High School
  • Cody Pumper, Guam High School

Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald, DoDEA’s Acting Director, recognized the students for their achievements.

“This is a great honor for these students to have been selected as semifinalists,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “Their academically talented dedication and hard work earned them this recognition based on their skills, abilities and accomplishments. We are proud of their performance, demonstrated leadership, and contributions.”

The scholarships are sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a not-for-profit organization. The NMSC underwrites all scholarships with its own private funds along with 450 business organizations and higher education institutions.

The students are part of 16,000 students selected as semifinalists. They will go on to compete for 8,400 National Merit Scholarships. Those scholarships will be awarded in Spring 2011 and are worth a combined $36 million.

More than1.5 million students in 22,000 high schools entered the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as high school juniors.

To continue in the competition as a Finalist, students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be recommended by their high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. The Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a scholarship application that includes the student’s essay and information about the Semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

The 15,000 students that are expected to advance to the Finalist level will have a chance to compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. Finalists can also compete for 1,000 Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship Awards, provided by corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specific criteria; and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the award sponsor’s institution.

NMSC will begin to announce scholarship winners in April, with the last winners being announced in July 2011. To date NMSC has awarded more than 275,000 scholarships to students selected as National Merit Scholars.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality, public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, the United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.

For more information on the National Merit Scholarship Program please visit:

DoDEA HQ Office of Communications

4800 Mark Center Dr.
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400

The DoDEA Communications Office initiates and manages DoDEA's communications and outreach efforts worldwide. The office coordinates press relations, internal information programs and communication with students, parents, teachers, school administrators and the public.

The HQ Communications Office:

Issues news releases and media advisories about DoDEA initiatives, employees and programs Produces video and television promotional and informational products marketed worldwide Maintains the DoDEA web site Designs printed promotional and informational material and graphic artwork to accompany publications, promotions and initiatives

Area Communications Offices: