Burroughs tops Missouri’s list of National Merit Honors

Burroughs has 25 National Merit semifinalists and 6 achievement finalists.


Information was provided by the communications department at John Burroughs School.

John Burroughs School claims more National Merit semifinalists and more Achievement semifinalists than any other school — of any size — in the state of Missouri.

The school claims 25 National Merit semifinalists and six Achievement semifinalists, more than 30 percent of the senior class and one of the highest percentages in the nation. The semifinalists’ selection for the honor was based on their high scores on the PSAT, which they took as juniors in the fall of 2011.

Burroughs has traditionally been among the top-performing schools nationwide, but this year’s number of Achievement semifinalists (the top 1 percent of black students who took the PSAT) is particularly notable.

With only 99 seniors, Burroughs claims more Achievement semifinalists than any other Missouri school. Six of the state’s 21 Achievement semifinalists come from Burroughs, and the small school in St. Louis County claims more semifinalists than 11 entire states. Burroughs is one of only 17 high schools in the country to claim six or more Achievement semifinalists.

Many of those schools are much larger, outnumbering the Burroughs student body by as much as eight to one. African-American students make up about 10 percent of the student body at Burroughs.

“We are very proud of these statistics, but we are even prouder of our students,” says Head of School Andy Abbott. Among the students who attained National Merit and Achievement semifinalist status are student leaders including the president of the student body; the editor of the student newspaper; four starters on the football team, two of whom are captains; state contenders in swimming, cross country and tennis; the concertmaster of a national honors orchestra; and an artist who shows his work in metropolitan area exhibits. “They are not only good students. They are interesting people, and they are fun. They are truly great kids,” says Abbott.

The 25 seniors who were named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program are Abby Balfour, Seve Beaver, Xavier Bledsoe, Emily Brown, Jimmy Carney, Sarah Cohen, Ginna Doyle, Kelly Hatfield, David Hua, J.R. Latta, Alicia Liu, Vicky Liu, Corina Minden-Birkenmaier, Brad Riew, Liz Rill, Joe Roddy, Peter Schnuck, Kirk Smith, Teresa-Anne Tatom-Naecker, Katherine Taylor, Charlie Van Doren, Sam Wexler, Matthew Wong, Alice Woods and Melissa Zhang.

The six seniors named semifinalists in the Achievement Scholarship competition are Robert Beckles, Xavier Bledsoe (who was also recognized in an NMS semifinalist), Solo Ceesay, A.D. Marshall, Foye Oluokun and Collean Trotter.

An additional 16 Burroughs seniors will receive letters of commendation from the National Merit program in recognition of their academic promise. They are Meghan Bach, Robert Beckles (also an Achievement semifinalist), Mackenzie Brandt, Frankie Caiazzo, Andrew Creighton, Siddharth Das, Kevin Eapen, Jake Fruchter, Emily Goodloe, Sally Lemkemeier, Katie Link, A.D. Marshall (also an Achievement semifinalist), Danny Nightingale, Zac Norton, Jordan Shaheen and Will Shao.


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