Eight Washington County area students were named last week as winners of corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards.

They are among the first group of honorees to be announced as part of the 58th annual scholarship program.

About 1.5 million juniors from 22,000 high schools nationwide entered the program by taking the 2011 PSAT, which is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. In September, about 16,000 students were named semifinalists. About 8,000 finalists have been selected to receive scholarships totaling more than $35 million.

Corporate sponsors provide scholarships for finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities served by the companies or who plan to pursue college majors or careers that the sponsors wish to encourage.

Seven local students won scholarships sponsored by 3M. The students are:

Erik Eitzman, of Lake Elmo, who attends Stillwater Area High School and plans to study actuarial science.

Rebecca Horzewski, of Oakdale, who attends St. Croix Lutheran High School in West St. Paul and is considering a computer engineering career.

Edward Liu, of Cottage Grove, who attends Woodbury High School and is likely to pursue a career in chemical engineering.

Kinsey Philips, of Woodbury, who attends Woodbury High School and is weighing a career in biology.

Colin Scheibner, of Woodbury, who attends East Ridge High School in Woodbury and plans to study physics.

Jessica Shaklee, of Stillwater, who is home-schooled and is considering a biochemistry career.

Andy Ylitalo, of Stillwater, who attends Stillwater Area High School and is likely to pursue a career in chemical engineering.

The eighth corporate scholarship was sponsored by Alfred A. Davis/ASC Partners, LLC, and it will go to Angela Yang, of Woodbury, who attends Woodbury High School and plans to study finance.


Host families sought for exchange student

The Rotary Club of North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale is searching for three families to host a 17-year-old student from Italy during the 2013-14 school year.

The student, who lives in Cremona, Italy, will enroll at Tartan High School in Oakdale or North High School in North St. Paul, with the choice of school dependent upon where the host families live, a school district news release said.

In addition to being a good student, the 17-year-old reportedly likes music and plays soccer. His father is a veterinarian, and his mother is a software engineer. He is considering a career in electronics, and he hopes to learn more about American culture and to become more fluent in English.

According to the district, each parent or family will host the student for three to four months.

If interested, contact Brian Buchmayer at bcbuchmayer@gmail.com or 612-720-4153. More information is available at the North Star Rotary Youth Exchange website.


Poetry contestant viewable online

Yemi Ajagbe, a Woodbury High School senior who repeated this year as the Poetry Out Loud state champion, will compete in the national semifinals in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 29, and her performance can be seen online.

She is expected to compete sometime between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. during a one-time only webcast on the National Endowment for the Arts website.

Nine participants will advance from the semifinals to the finals on Tuesday, April 30.

The finals also can be viewed on a webcast that runs from 6 to 8 p.m.

Anthony Lonetree