On Nov. 8, Orono Schools celebrated the accomplishments of 25 students from the Class of 2022. These students have excelled academically and earned recognition through the National Merit Scholarship and Advanced Placement Scholar programs.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is a nationwide academic competition recognizing some of America’s most promising students. Each year, 1.5 million high school juniors enter the competition by taking the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). Of these, only 50,000 qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. That is less than three percent of all entrants.
Approximately two-thirds, or about 34,000, of the top 50,000 will receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise.
The remaining 16,000, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 highest scorers nationally, qualify as semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis so they are the highest scoring entrants in each state.
Semifinalists complete an application to advance to Finalist standing which will be announced in February 2022.
Each year, the College Board recognizes high school students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement (AP) exams by naming them AP Scholars. More than 2 million students across the world take AP exams each year and fewer than 20 percent receive this recognition.
In 2021, Orono had 163 students earn the recognition of AP Scholar. There are varying degrees of scholar designations with AP Scholar with Distinction being the highest. Students who earn this designation have earned an average of 3.5 on all exams taken and at least a 3.0 on five or more exams.
AP Scholars, AP Scholars with Honor, and AP Capstone Candidates will be recognized and celebrated at our Academic Awards Ceremony this spring.
Ava Blaufuss: AP Scholar with Distinction - Ava is planning on studying marine biology. Carleton College and the University of California, Berkeley, are among the schools she is applying to.
Caroline Close: AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Commended Scholar - Caroline is considering a major in business and/or psychology. Orono Swim Team was her favorite extracurricular activity and felt like her second family.
Annabelle Edwards: AP Scholar with Distinction - Annabelle is applying to several schools on the East Coast and plans to pursue a pre-med track with an emphasis in biology while participating in ROTC on campus.
Angelo Fiataruolo: AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Semifinalist - Angelo has applied to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where he is currently taking courses through PSEO. He plans to study computer science and/or music. He will miss his teachers, coaches and other staff who have supported him over the years.
Crystal Gettman: AP Scholar with Distinction - Crystal has applied to John’s Hopkins and plans to study neuroscience and go onto medical school. Crystal didn’t share what she will miss the most about Orono, but we will certainly miss her bright smile.
Kytalin Hendrickson: AP Scholar with Distinction - Kytalin would like to pursue a career in biomedical engineering. While at Orono High School she has enjoyed sailing and skiing and is currently serving as captain to both teams.
Audrey James: AP Scholar with Distinction - Audrey would like to pursue a career in speech language pathology. She has applied to the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Washington and plans to major in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Johanna Johnson: AP Scholar with Distinction - Johanna will attend Bethel University and plans to double-major in Biblical and Theological Studies and Missionary Ministries with the goal of becoming a long-term Missionary and Pastor. Johanna appreciated the opportunity to participate in our local chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes where she built relationships with peers around faith, life, and the Bible.
Jack Kopesky: AP Scholar with Distinction - Jack has applied to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Notre Dame where he hopes to study international business. Jack has enjoyed Student Senate and being the DJ at school dances.
Anna Murley: AP Scholar with Distinction - One of Anna’s proudest accomplishments was earning a sticker on each of her mathematics tests for AP Calculus AB and BC. It is fitting, then, that she plans to major in mathematics and actuarial science with the goal of becoming an actuary.
Jenna Muth: AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Commended Scholar - Jenna is captain of the Orono Dance Team where she is able to lead and inspire younger dancers. In college she would like to pursue a major in chemical engineering.
Jennifer Nguyen: AP Scholar with Distinction - AP Seminar and AP World History were among Jennifer’s favorite classes. As a member of the Student Senate, Jennifer enjoyed being a liaison between peers and administration. She has also been involved at the state level and worked closely with students from other schools. Jennifer looks forward to exploring and further identifying her unique interests and abilities while in college.
Peter Nicklow: AP Scholar with Distinction - It is fitting that Peter’s favorite extra-curricular activity is Men’s Soccer. (Congratulations on the recent state championship!) Peter says there’s nothing better than hanging out with friends playing a game you love.
Carli Olsen: AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Commended Scholar - Carli would like to study applied mathematics and hopes to become a data scientist, possibly in the area of sports. Her favorite extracurricular activity at Orono is Girl’s Tennis. She placed 5th in the Individual Girls State Tennis Tournament this fall. She will miss getting to compete with classmates and good friends.
Hannah Ragan: AP Scholar with Distinction - Hannah would like to study biology, neuroscience, and/or kinesiology. Her favorite activities at Orono were Women’s Lacrosse and Student Senate. She will miss the fun events at school and the opportunity to talk with Orono friends and teachers.
Oliver Strommen: AP Scholar with Distinction - Oliver is applying to the University of Miami; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the University of California, Los Angeles where he plans to study marine biology. Oliver particularly enjoyed participating in Student Senate and will miss teachers and staff. When he has a chance, he likes to go rock climbing or bouldering.
Benjamin Summers: AP Scholar with Distinction - Ben’s favorite class at Orono High School was AP Human Geography. As a member of the State Champion Orono Men’s Soccer team, I’m sure he is still recovering from the excitement over the weekend. Ben has also appreciated participating in Student Senate and the Minnesota Special Olympics Unified Club.
Jack Tanner: AP Scholar with Distinction - University of Wisconsin, Madison; Notre Dame; Wakeforest; and Boston College are among the schools Jack is applying to. He plans to study pre-medicine with the goal of becoming a physician. Jack has particularly enjoyed Men’s Tennis and is hoping to qualify for the state tournament again this year. Whether on the court or in the classroom, Jack will miss the competitive but supportive environment at Orono, which is always pushing him to be his best.
Nova Tseng: AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Semifinalist - Nova has especially enjoyed participating on Orono’s Speech team. As team captain, she is able to inspire younger students to take a risk and try public speaking. Although she will miss many things about Orono, she tells me she will miss seeing her parents every day.
Leah Uttley: AP Scholar with Distinction - Leah enjoyed AP Seminar because it allowed her to engage in academic research around specific fields of interest. Although she is undecided on a major, Leah wants to pursue a career in a STEM field.
Andrew Van Overbeke: AP Scholar with Distinction - Andrew is planning to apply at Brown, University of Notre Dame, Tufts, and the University of Rochester, New York, where he plans to study Engineering, Political Science, and/or Chinese. He has enjoyed participating in the theatre program.
Martin Weiss: National Merit Semifinalist - Martin’s favorite courses at Orono High School have been AP Seminar and AP Research, the two courses leading to an AP Capstone Diploma. In these courses, he has enjoyed the opportunity to work with teachers, peers, and community experts in a supportive and relaxed environment, while delving into real-world problems that cross content areas. Martin’s top three colleges are Williams, Pomona and Bowdoin.
Isabel Wellman: National Merit Commended Scholar - Recently, Isabel learned she was awarded the Naval ROTC National Scholarship to Texas A&M where she plans to study Aerospace Engineering. Congratulations on this honor and college choice, Isabel!
Ty Wetterstrom: AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Commended Scholar - Ty has applied to several schools including Indiana University, the University of Iowa, University of Michigan and University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He plans to study business.
Derek Wignall: AP Scholar with Distinction - Derek has applied to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, University of Michigan, Michigan State, and the University of Washington. In college, he plans to study physics or astrophysics. Ultimately, he would like a career as a researcher in one of these areas.