Five BHS Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

September 29, 2016
Bedford’s National Honor Society Semi-finalists posed with Principal Heather Galante (center, back row) and Guidance Counselors Kristen Milano (l) and Janel Halupowski (r) The finalists in the front row are (l-r) Savannah En, Hannah Rubin and Jessica Croteau, and in the back row, Ivan Vegner (l) and John Coyne (r) – Image (c) JMcCT, 2016 all rights reserved

By Linda White

Newly appointed BHS Principal Heather Galante announced the names of five BHS students who have been named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. Seniors John Coyne, Jessica Croteau, Savannah En, Hannah Rubin and Ivan Vegner are among an elite national pool of about 16,000 students who have been notified they scored within the top one third of 50,000 PSAT/NMSQT high scorers from a total applicant base of approximately 1.6 million students who took the exam.

The next steps in the process require students to demonstrate continuation of academic excellence and to complete and submit an online application and essay. BHS Guidance counselors will also complete the school sections of the application and submit the final application by the October 12 deadline.

BHS Guidance Counselors Kristen Milano and Janel Halupowski agreed to share some of the qualitative information they will present in their write ups for these students. The counselors noted that each of the semifinalists had successfully participated in the most challenging honors, high honors and AP math and science curriculum courses offered at BHS. Additionally, each student also possesses a wealth of outside interests and talents.

Counselor Milano shared the following information for Ivan Vegner and Hannah Rubin:

“Ivan emigrated from St. Petersburg, Russian and entered a neighboring school system in fifth grade. He has been a Bedford student since eighth grade. In 2014, he scored a perfect 800 on the Math portion of the SAT. Ivan is passionate about computer science and has earned multiple awards at area competitions for his programming abilities. He is currently working on creating a stock trading app.  Ivan is a member of the Varsity Cross Country team and is the Officer in Charge of the Finance Department of his JROTC program at school.”

“Hannah Rubin is a driven, hardworking young woman. She is also an accomplished cellist, performing in both a chamber ensemble and an orchestra at the New England Conservatory and qualifying for the Massachusetts All-State Orchestra. She practices cello multiple hours a day and has traveled as far as Iceland to perform with her chamber group. Hannah also plays piano and has a strong interest in science. She credits her successes so far to her desire to learn deeply and her refusal to procrastinate.”

From Janel Halupowski who represents John Coyne, Jessica Croteau, and
Savannah En:

“John Coyne is a gifted, independent and highly motivated student with a passion for learning. John began high school taking High Honors Pre-Calculus with juniors and seniors and is currently in advanced math courses.  No matter what the topic, John always takes the initiative to learn and master it and is not satisfied until he has done so. With an interest in STEM, he is a member of both the Science and Math Teams and serves as an audio engineer for several BHS productions. He is also a member of both the Marching Band and the Jazz Band.”

“Jessica Croteau is a very bright, thoughtful and dedicated young woman with a strong work ethic and passion for math, science and computer programming. She is a friendly, talented and compassionate young woman who took her love of knitting/crocheting and helped those in need by founding the Knots of Love Club at BHS. Here, students get together and knit/crochet hats for patients suffering from hair loss due to chemotherapy and other treatments.  Jessica is also involved with several other organizations at Bedford High, including Relay for Life, the Tournament of Plays and the BHS musical.”

“Savannah En is an intelligent, kind and hard-working young woman with outstanding leadership ability.  Actively involved in the school community, she holds numerous leadership positions, including Vice President of the Class of 2017. She is a gifted math student and has immersed herself as a member of the BHS Math Team and coaching the JGMS Math Team.  Savannah has attended Chinese Language School and been a Group Leader of their Support Education Project since grade eight raising over $40,000 to provide aid to 63 high school students in rural China.  Savannah swims competitively for both the BHS Varsity Swim Team and the North Shore Swim Club and also competes in triathlons.”

The students are finalizing their college choices and credited their BHS teachers and guidance counselors for preparing them so well for both SAT level testing and the challenges they will face in college. Some also expressed appreciation for elementary teachers who encouraged them along the way.

Principal Galante commented, “These five students are academically engaged and are being recognized as top students across the nation. In addition to demonstrating academic prowess, they are engaged in the school community and epitomize integrity and character. To look at these students solely through an academic lens provides only a partial portrait of who they are. They are students of great depth and varied interests. I am proud to have them as students at Bedford High School.”

Semifinalists will be notified in February regarding their status for Finalist designation.

Congratulations and Good Luck to these Bedford National Merit Semifinalists!  

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