Five students at Fenwick High School and 10 students at Oak Park and River Forest High School have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists for 2021. The schools released the names of the semifinalists earlier this month.  

The semifinalists garnered some of the highest scores in the country on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. 

Only 16,000 high school juniors, or just 1 percent of some 1.5 million juniors from 21,000 high schools in the country earned the distinction of qualifying as semifinalists, District 200 officials explained in a statement. 

The semifinalists will compete for roughly 7,600 scholarships worth more than $30 million. The scholarship recipients will be announced in the spring. 

Around 15,000 National Merit semifinalists will be notified in February that they’ve advanced to the final round, where 2,500 winners will be selected for $2,500 National Merit Scholarships financed by colleges and universities across the country. 

D200 officials said that approximately 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will go to students who meet certain criteria set by corporations.  

Among OPRF’s 10 semifinalists is Maggie Rose Baron, the daughter of D200 board member Matt Baron. 

“This is a real accomplishment; this is very hard to do,” said D200 board member Ralph Martire during a regular meeting on Sept. 24. 

Tradition of Excellence alums announced

During a regular meeting on Sept. 24, the D200 school board unveiled two nominees for this year’s Tradition of Excellence. 

Both Tradition of Excellence nominees are physicians: Dr. Walter Lawrence Jr., a medical doctor and surgeon, graduated from OPRF in 1942 while Dr. Kiona Allen, a pediatric cardiologist, graduated from OPRF in 2000. 

Lawrence Jr. went to the University of Chicago Medical School before continuing his surgical training at Johns Hopkins and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Hospital. His surgical specialty is in oncology. 

He served as chief of surgery at a MASH hospital in the Korean War before being recruited by the Medical College of Virginia “to create the first-ever university-based Division of Surgical Oncology,” D200 officials said in a statement. 

Now 95 years old, Lawrence still teaches medical students at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Dr. Allen was a gymnast for four years while at OPRF. After graduating, she went to the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her bachelor’s degree and her medical degree. 

“Dr. Allen’s primary focus is the inpatient care of children who spend a longer time in the hospital and are often recovering from complex cardiac surgical procedures,” D200 officials said. “This also includes patients receiving mechanical circulatory support and single ventricle physiology.” 

Allen is currently an assistant professor of pediatrics in cardiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 


They’re in the running

Fenwick’s National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: 

  • Donna Carinato 
  • Anna Dray 
  • Ronan Kristufek
  • Daniel Majcher 
  • Daniel Westerman 

OPRF’s National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: 

  • Maggie Rose Baron
  • Camille Grant
  • Nathaniel Lee
  • Jonathan Mueller-Nussenbaum
  • Emmett Perry
  • Dox Raskin
  • Eleanor Sigel
  • Devin Sturtevant
  • Jackson Tanner
  • Nicholas Woods

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