EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso’s Finest has a new name to add to the list of decorated students and alumni. Sarunas Budreckis, class of 2020, was named as one of 16,000 National Merit Scholar semifinalists.
Sarunas won the honor after placing in the top percentages of students on the PSAT, which was taken his junior year. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents just 1 percent of U.S. High School Seniors. The designation also allows Sarunas to apply for more than $31 million in college and corporate-funded scholarships next spring.
National Merit semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn high SAT or ACT scores to become a National Merit Scholar.
As a sophomore, Sarunas took his love of computer science to a new level by developing a new Coding and Game Design Club, according to the Eastwood Sabre.
Of the National Merit semifinalists, about 90% will go on to be named finalists in early 2020, and about 50% of finalists will ultimately earn a National Merit Scholarship and gain the title of National Meric Scholar.
Officials say 2,500 National Merit scholarships will be awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 Merit Scholarships will be provided by corporations and business organizations, and about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 Merit Scholarships for finalists who subsequently attend those institutions.