From the more than 1.5 million students who entered this year’s Merit Scholarship competition, only an approximate 16,000 qualified, and among those students four of them are from Laramie High School, while the fifth is an Albany County homeschooled student. Given Wyoming’s population, to place five students, and again, four of them from Laramie High School is a highly respected achievement.

The LHS students are (in alphabetical order) Dillon Andrews, Harlie Kaligis, Katia Oler and Theodore “Ted” Rittle. The student who is homeschooled is Ruben Wahrenberger.

“This scholarship is based upon students who sat for a test on one particular day,” said Kim Dale, school counselor at LHS. Dale believes each of the students are great individuals with strong applications.

Although the NSMP highlights academic exceptionalism, it also values student leadership, community involvement and extracurricular activities.

“These students are great individuals, and I hope to see them as finalists,” Dale said.

About the students

Harlie Kaligis, plans on attending college and exploring the study of the brain (known as cognitive psychology) and Spanish.

“Outside of these studies, I will continue to indulge my passion for reading,” she said, adding that she intends to continue growing as a musician.

Katia Oler, also plans on attending college, but has yet to decide which school to attend.

Theodore “Ted” Rittle has no set plans for field of study but plans to enroll at the University of Wyoming.

If selected as a finalist in February, the five students will offered a choice between national, corporate or college-sponsored scholarships.

Efforts to reach Dillon Andrews and Ruben Wahrenberger were not successful.

About the National Merit Scholarship

The National Merit Program, an academic competition for all U.S. high school students, recognizes a student’s exemplary academic promise and encourages the pursuit of excellence at all levels of education.

Any student who received high index scores on the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) qualify for the merit program and become semifinalists.

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