School News – September 25

Students named National Merit semifinalists

Five high school seniors from Columbus have been named as semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit scholarship program.

Columbus East High School senior Lucyanna Henrichsen and Columbus North seniors Vamshi Balanaga, Ciaran Hill, Anavi Singhal and Yijiang Zhao were among the 16,000 semifinalists in the program. They will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for about 7,500 National Merit scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to become a finalist, with about half of the finalists being awarded a scholarship. Individuals will be notified in February whether they are named a finalist.

Merit scholars are selected based on their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Three types of National Merit scholarships will be offered in the spring with each finalist competing for one a $2,500 scholarship that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

STEM club resumes at Clifty Creek

A club at Clifty Creek Elementary School that pairs elementary students with engineers from Cummins with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math has resumed for the school year.

The STEM Club, which is now in its third year, pairs a Cummins engineer with three students in grades 4-6. Teams meet once a week for 90 minutes and work together to investigate, develop and create projects, including Lego robots or a suspension bridge, according to the district.

The after-school club, which resumed Sept. 19, has 36 students that are enrolled in the first quarter, district officials said.

BCSC’s high ability program has open testing

The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.’s high ability program will have open testing sessions starting in January. The testing is for students who are currently enrolled in a BCSC school in the fourth, fifth and seventh grades, said Shelley Walker, high ability coordinator.

The program is open to current BCSC students that enrolled after Oct. 16 in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades, Walker said. Non-BCSC students in grades 3-7 may also register for testing.

Registration opens Dec. 1 and will remain open until Dec. 31 and can be done online by visiting For more information, call Walker at 812-314-3881 or e-mail

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or