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National Merit Semifinalists Honored by Board

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National Merit Semifinalists Honored by Board
Posted on 10/17/2019
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The Portland Board of Public Education and Superintendent Xavier Botana recently recognized three high school seniors who have been named Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Honored were Julia Ayer, from Portland High School; David Botana, from Casco Bay High School; and Glynis p O’Meara, a Deering High School student.

The recognition took place at the Board’s Oct. 15 meeting.

“For recognition today I would like to single out three high school seniors in the Portland Public Schools who have been named Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program,” Superintendent Botana said. “They are among 73 highest scoring Maine seniors named as semifinalists, and will now compete with about 16,000 students across the country for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million to be awarded this spring.”

Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. They were selected from a pool of more than 1.5 million high school juniors that entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screening test.

“SAT scores are but one lens for a student,” the superintendent said. “I don’t have the privilege of knowing Julia personally, but I know Glynis and, of course, David, and know that they are incredibly dedicated and hardworking and all around committed to their studies and making a difference. The Judeo-Christian Bible tells us that much is required from those to whom much is given. You all have important talents and gifts and we expect that you will continue to use your gifts to make this world a better place.”

The superintendent continued, “Every year when we honor our National Merit Semifinalists, we also recognize their parents, because we know that behind those gifts there is a support structure that has helped them to reach this point. This group is no different, so I would like to recognize the parents of Julia, Glynis and David for their work in helping these students achieve this outcome.”

David Botana is Superintendent Botana’s son. The superintendent credited his wife as the one having outstanding parenting skills. “I must say that I have learned that it really takes at least one exceptional parent and the other one can be just...mediocre,” Botana said. “Thanks, Suz, for being that amazing parent to David for all these years.”

To view a YouTube video of the recognition of the students, click HERE.
Roberto Rodriguez, David Botana, Xavier Botana
PHOTO CAPTIONS: (TOP) Pictured, from left to right, are Board Chair Roberto Rodriguez; Portland High School student Julia Ayer; and Superintendent Xavier Botana.
(BELOW) Pictured, from left to right, are Board Chair Roberto Rodriguez; Casco Bay High School student David Botana; and Superintendent Xavier Botana.
Deering High School student Glynis O'Meara was unable to attend the meeting.