Minneapolis Public Schools students selected as National Merit semifinalists

  • Blog Post by: $author
  • September 19, 2011 - 11:42 AM

Minneapolis Public Schools has announced that 10 students from South and Southwest high schools have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Selected by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., the semifinalists are identified as being among the nation's most academically talented students.

The students are: Tavis M. Leighton, Abigail K. Norling-Ruggles, Ellis Runion and Nathan P. Yeazel of South High School and Harrison F. Deaver, Keira A. Jacobs, Christopher A. Lee-Foss, Holly Stein, Phillip B. Timmons and Kirsten A. Wiard-Bauer of Southwest High School.

The results are similar to 2010, when no students from Edison, Henry, North, Roosevelt or Washburn high schools landed on the list.

Last fall, I wrote about Lucia Carver, in a Dateline Minneapolis column "From Henry to Harvard ..."  The piece explored why the Henry High grad was the only student from a north or northeast Minneapolis public school to earn recognition as a National Merit or National Achievement semifinalist during the past six years.

Over that same period, 76 students from south and southwest Minneapolis public schools have received the honor. All but one of those came from South and Southwest high schools.

Carver is now an East Asian Studies major at Harvard University and part-time DJ. During her time as a student in Minneapolis, the stigma of low- or under-achievement associated with North Side schools was unmistakable, she said last fall.

"That's sort of the reality of the district," she said. "It's an unfortunate situation."

Last week, the Minneapolis Public Schools announced progress made in closing the achievement gap between white and non-white students on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment math and reading exams, but district officials may still have work to do in creating parity among its high schools.

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