Faulkner Bodbyl-Mast, Ana West and Thomas Zambiasi have all been named Commended Students through the National Merit Program.
About 1.6 million juniors from more than 22,000 high schools across the country participated in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The national program says more than two-thirds of those students received Letters of Commendation based on their score, which is among the top 5 percent of students who took the PSAT.
The news caught the three Spring Lake students by surprise.
“I really didn’t think I did well on it, so receiving the recognition felt a little strange, but I am certainly happy about it,” said West, 17.
Bodbyl-Mast, 17, said his initial reaction was a “whirl of emotions” with a “mix of feeling honored, fortunate and accomplished.” He currently is waiting to hear back after sending his transcript and application to the University of Michigan.
“My plan is to approach social justice issues with the power of the arts,” he said.
After high school, West, plans to attend a four-year college or university to study economics or political science.
Zambiasi, 17, has been accepted to Michigan State University’s Honors College and James Madison Residential College, and he’s also waiting to hear back from Loyola University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Michigan.
“As for a major, I’m interested in both biology and political science, but don’t know exactly what I’d like to go into yet,” he said.
Bodbyl-Mast, West and Zambiasi are also active in many extracurricular activities.
Bodbyl-Mast is a drum major in the SLHS marching band, and is on the school’s tennis and Quiz Bowl teams.
Zambiasi is involved in the band program through playing the trumpet in marching band and jazz band. He’s also a member of the school’s varsity Quiz Bowl team and he participated in Grand Haven High School’s Model United Nations program.
West is a member of the varsity swim team and plays the alto saxophone in the marching band. She’s also a member of the Quiz Bowl and Model United Nations, and secretary of the National Honor Society. She volunteered with a local campaign during the election cycle.
Spring Lake High School Principal Mike Gilchrist said the students are “very deserving of the National Merit recognition.”
“Not only are they outstanding academic students all carrying a 4.0 GPA, they are leaders in the building,” he said.