Congratulations to Gabriel Epstein (pictured on left), Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, and Courtney Stump, Columbia River High School. Both are recipients of National Merit Awards. Stump was one of 2,500 students in the nation to receive the $2,500 National Merit Scholarship. Epstein also received the National Merit Solvay Scholarship.

VSAA Principal Jim O’Banion described Epstein’s qualities as a gentleman, artist, athlete, tutor and scholar. He said Epstein educates himself regarding current world politics and is always helpful to others. Epstein also has been named a Presidential Scholar Semifinalist. This fall, he will attend the University of Washington Honors Program, School of Engineering.

Alex Otoupal, principal of Columbia River, said Stump is an academic tutor at River and is one of four seniors with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She will go to Dartmouth to complete her undergraduate major of biophysical chemistry. Currently, Stump is working with the David Lloyd Foundation helping to establish a hospital in Rwanda. She is going to Rwanda this summer to work on the infrastructure and educational programs of health care for women and children in the country.

Said Board Director Michelle Giovannozzi, “Earning a National Merit scholarship is one of the highest academic recognitions a high school student can achieve. It’s an honor bestowed to only 0.5 percent of high school students who take the SAT. But it doesn’t end there. As these scholarships awarded to Courtney and Gabriel demonstrate, achieving National Merit finalist status indicates significant future potential.”