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Local student named National Merit winner

BEMIDJI - A Bemidji High School student has been named a National Merit college-sponsored scholarship winner.

Zachary Hewitt, a senior at BHS, has received a National Merit scholarship sponsored by Iowa State University, where he plans on majoring in electrical engineering.

Hewitt is one of 2,500 college-sponsored Merit scholarship winners across the nation announced Wednesday.

"Every year we have two or three candidates in the running, but they typically don't make it to the finals like Zach did," BHS Principal Brian Stefanich said. "It's pretty remarkable to have a student that has set himself apart from all of his classmates that way."

Stefanich said Hewitt is the Mathletes' captain and a member of Knowledge Bowl and other organizations which added to his resume to help him earn the National Merit scholarship.

Last fall, 16,000 semifinalists were named based on their scores on the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

To advance to finalist standing, entrants had to submit a scholarship application, have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by a high school official and earn SAT scores that met the qualifying requirements. Hewitt was one of 15,000 students to be named a finalist, and half of those students have earned some type of National Merit scholarship, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Earlier this spring, winners of corporate-sponsored Merit scholarship awards and National Merit $2,500 scholarships were announced. A final group of college-sponsored Merit scholarship recipients will be announced in July.