Seven seniors at Burnsville High School are among the most academically-talented scholars in the country based upon their performance in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship program.
"These students have earned significant academic recognition — the type that is noticed by admission offices at colleges and universities," said Ashley Welke, a counselor at Burnsville High School. "They can take great pride in this accomplishment."
Alex Gude, Luke Haddorff and Albert Liu are among fewer than one percent of students who are named National Merit Semifinalists. They will now be considered for National Merit Finalist recognition, a designation that will be announced at a later date.
All three began in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 at Sioux Trail Elementary School, then attended Metcalf Junior High (as it was then) before going to Burnsville High School.
Alex is involved in National Honor Society (NHS), is a captain of both boys cross country and Nordic ski teams and also plays varsity tennis. Alex plans on majoring in computer science in college.
Luke is involved in NHS, student council and the tennis team. He plans to attend college next year and study engineering. Luke serves as the student representative to the District 191 Board of Education.
Albert is vice president of NHS. He plays varsity tennis and participates in Quiz Bowl, the #BurnsvilleStrong group and Bowls for BrainPower. Albert plans to study computer science in college and eventually go to graduate school for neuroscience.
Erik Andersen, Elizabeth McCormick and Bailey Pekar have been named Commended Students, a recognition that goes to fewer than 3.5 percent of those who took the test.
Erik, who is currently a PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Option) student, participates in Quiz Bowl and swimming. His future plans include studying computer science in college. Elizabeth is active in DECA and is interested in a career in business administration and/or finance. Lastly, Bailey plans on studying history and architecture with the hopes of working in historic preservation or in a museum.
Senior Victor Sanchez Villegas has earned National Hispanic Recognition from the College Board for his performance on the National Merit Qualifying Test in his junior year in conjunction with his Grade Point Average at Burnsville High School. He’s among 5,000 of the 250,000 test-takers who identified themselves as Hispanic/Latino on the test and are now being honored for academic achievement. Victor is involved in DECA, Math League, Quiz Bowl and volunteering. He plans to study engineering in college next year.
Last spring, Victor, Alex, Albert, Elizabeth and Bailey were among seven high-achieving juniors who were presented with Junior Book Awards from prestigious colleges in recognition of their outstanding academic accomplishments, dedication to learning, leadership, school involvement and community service.