Doubling Down on the Merit Scholarship

In 1997 the North Central Alumni Association set out to finance a recognition scholarship awarded to a student in each class who embodied the North Central motto: “Achievement through Scholarship, Honesty and Respect”.

Built initially upon the contributions of North Central alumni from across the country, this prestigious scholarship has grown from the initial award of $1000 to that of $5000 in recent years. In honor of continued growth and the commitment of the Advancement Center to support students as they leave North Central, we are proud to announce increased funding of the Merit Scholarship to $10,000 annually. This increase allows more students to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and have their continued education impacted through community and alumni support.

With no shortage of exceptional students making their mark at North Central, the Merit Scholarship application pool is deep and the review and selection difficult. But the excellence of the recipients and the impact of the award are clearly worthy of the process. Lauren Stephens, the 2010 recipient reflected on the importance of scholarships in helping with her achievements. “Given the cost of college, being able to get scholarships including the NCHS merit scholarship was critical for me to attend MIT and is a key example of the support and opportunities that the North Central community provided me.”

Lauren attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a degree in Computer Science and Engineering as well as a minor in Economics. “I got the chance to draw on the broad base of knowledge I had acquired at North Central to apply computer science to different fields.  My research projects included autonomous vehicles (Aerospace Control Lab), genetic algorithms (CSAIL), natural language processing (MIT media lab), and network analysis (MIT Economics department) “.  Lauren now works as a Senior Software Engineer at Google in Cambridge, MA.  “I am so grateful for the supportive community of people including teachers, parents, friends and all the people who have helped create and support the NCHS scholarship.”

Jonathan Schwartz the 2017 Merit recipient is currently attending Yale University where he studies Political Science and Economics. He has invested in his time at Yale through the Varsity Sailing Team, the Yale Political Union, and as a board member for Every Vote Counts (a startup organization with the goal of ensuring fair voting practices in the US). Like Lauren, Jonathan sees value in the strong scholarship opportunities available to North Central Students. “It is extremely important for NC Seniors to have strong scholarship opportunities as they graduate to recognize outstanding achievements, both academic and otherwise. Every scholarship helps as college poses a huge financial burden on families and far too often prevents outstanding students from pursuing their dreams. I am proud that NC and the Advancement Center are doing what they can to ensure this is not the case.”

Ensuring opportunities like the Merit and others various scholarships are an important part of the work we do. Advancement Center scholarship applications are open now until February 12 for current North Central seniors.

As a community it is our goal to empower students not only with knowledge but also with opportunity. Every scholarship is an opportunity to grow the next generation of leaders who turn around and then grow their communities. Lauren said it well in her 1997 thank you note to the Alumni Association board “I realize the importance of giving back to my community. Opportunities like this scholarship come from having a community of people who are willing to give back”.  Thank you to all of the alumni and donors in our Washington Township community who continue to give back and make not only opportunities with the Merit but ALL scholarship support provided to NC students possible.

Past Alumni Merit Scholarship Recipients

Susan Lautz
Phebe Taylor
Jennifer Anderson
Rachel Goldberg
Monica Smith
George Srour
Mary McNaught
Anne Smith
Rachel Green
Pheoebe Cheng
Margaret Sutherlin
Nicholas Johnson
Maya Espada
Miles Johnson
Lauren Stephens
Sriya Muralidharan
Marissa Stephens
Caroline Skulski
Kirsten Holston
Julia Weiner
Ashorne Mahenthiran
Jonathan Schwartz

 Lauren Stephens receiving the Merit in 2010

Lauren Stephens receiving the Merit in 2010

 Jonathan Schwartz receiving the Merit in 2017

Jonathan Schwartz receiving the Merit in 2017