Two St. Johnsbury Academy seniors have been selected as Finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Sydney Benjamin of Peacham and Madison Wood of Kirby are among approximately 15,000 students nationwide "determined to have met all requirements to advance to Finalist standing in the competition," according to a letter from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

Final Merit Scholarship winner selection is already underway. According to the NMSC website, "All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the Finalist group, based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. A variety of information is available for NMSC selectors to evaluate: the Finalist's academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the Finalist's own essay." Since its founding, NMSC has recognized 2.9 million students and provided over 377,000 scholarships worth about $1.5 billion.

Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett said, "Besides being excellent scholars, both Sydney and Maddie have earned recognition locally and nationally. Sydney won the Calvin Coolidge Foundation's essay contest and is in the process of publishing a book. She was also the lead in our production of Peter Pan. Maddie has been an outstanding leader of the National Honor Society and a leading example of grit in our athletic program. This honor from the NMSQT program is just the latest in what is sure to be a future of excellence for both of these young women."

Additional information about the National Merit Scholarship Program is available by visiting


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