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St. Mary’s Academy Celebrates Two Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists

St. Mary’s Academy proudly announces that Maria Storch and Olivia Link have been named National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists. This prestigious recognition highlights their exceptional academic achievements and underscores their dedication to excellence in education. 

Maria Storch, the Treasurer of the Student Council (STUCO), Co-President of the Diversity Club, and Varsity Soccer captain, shines as the Co-Secretary General of Model UN. Outside of SMA, she actively participates in Students Taking Action and Making Progress (STAMP), Encode Justice (an organization advocating for ethical Artificial Intelligence), and club soccer. Maria’s fervent commitment to leadership and justice work is evident through her involvement with STAMP, where she leads workshops promoting equity and inclusion for Middle Schoolers. She is deeply passionate about the convergence of STEM and social justice, particularly in ensuring fairness and ethicality in computer systems. Maria aspires to pursue study in computing or data science at the college level. 

Olivia Link, who serves as the Vice President of Leadership of STUCO, is an active member of SMA’s Diversity Club, and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference where she leads insightful roundtable discussions educating fellow students on historical and current social justice issues. Olivia is President of the French National Honor Society, a founding member of the Gender Equity Club, and a dedicated STAMP leader. Her passion for sustainability is evident in her extensive volunteer work. As a sophomore, she immersed herself in learning about sustainable agriculture at the Loretto Motherhouse, gaining valuable insights into the fight against the climate crisis. Olivia further dedicates her time to the nonprofit We Don’t Waste, having served as an intern over the summer and contributing over 70 hours of volunteer work. “It’s an amazing organization and really succinctly combines my interest in the environment and helping people,” Oliva noted.

“Being recognized as a National Merit Semi-Finalist has been very exciting! I was really happy to hear that I qualified,” says Maria.

“I didn't really think I would make the cutoff and I tried to tell myself not to get my hopes up, but I'm glad that I did! Being recognized is amazing,” said Olivia. “I know how incredibly hard I had to work to get here, and it feels good to see all that pay off.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program aims to honor and acknowledge academically gifted students through nationwide academic scholarship initiatives. Today, the officials at the National Merit Scholarship Program have revealed the names of over 16,000 Semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. 

These accomplished seniors now can compete for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships, with a combined value of nearly $28 million, that will be awarded next spring. To progress to the Finalists level of the competition, Semifinalists must meet specific criteria, with approximately 95% anticipated to achieve Finalists status. Ultimately, about half of the Finalists will be honored with a National Merit Scholarship, earning the distinguished title of Merit Scholar. 

Join us in celebrating Olivia Link and Maria Storch for their outstanding academic accomplishments!