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Posted: September 30, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Alcovy High School senior named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist

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Eric Ritenour

Alcovy High School senior Eric Ritenour has been named a semifinalist in the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program. Over 1.5 million students in about 22,000 high schools in the United States enter the National Merit Scholarship Program each year. Ritenour is one of only 16,000 highest scorers (less than 1 percent of the nation’s high school graduating seniors) to qualify as a semi-finalist. He now has the opportunity to advance in the competition for one of the 8,200 Merit Scholarship $2,500 awards.

Students enter the National Merit Program by taking the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and meeting other program entry requirements.

Ritenour took the PSAT in October 2008 and said he would definitely recommend that others students take the exam.

"It’s almost exactly the same test as the SAT," said Ritenour. "You’ll know exactly what to prepare for."

After tackling the PSAT, Ritenour sat for the SAT in May and is currently taking an SAT prep class at school to increase his already high score.

Even though the first semester of his senior year isn’t even half over, Ritenour already knows where he wants to be one year from now. He has his sights firmly set on one college — Oxford at Emory.

"My plan is to apply at Oxford at Emory," he said. "That’s definitely my first choice."

Although he said he’s not 100 percent sure, Ritenour is considering studying political science. Should his first choice not work out, his second choice would be studying economics at Georgia Tech.

"Alcovy High School is extremely proud of Eric Ritenour being named as a National Merit semi-finalist for this school year," said Dr. LaQuanda Brown, principal of Alcovy High School. "Eric is an outstanding student who is extremely focused on his goals and aspirations and deserves to be recognized. The staff at AHS works tirelessly to teach the students to take steps that will help them to get into the college of their choice with funding assistance and Eric has taken the advice of his teachers and the guidance from his parents seriously in tackling the PSAT and earning a score that is to be reckoned with by many. The AHS staff is cheering for Eric in hopes that he will gain the rewards of earning such an esteemed score and will move on to the next step in earning the title of National Merit Scholar."

The National Merit Scholarship Competition will announce the names of Finalists in February 2010.

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