Sixteen students who live in Washington County or who attend schools in the area earned nods last week as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

They are among about 16,000 high school seniors who will compete for about 8,000 National Merit scholarships worth about $35 million. The pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide.

About 1.5 million juniors from more than 22,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2012 PSAT, which also is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Of the 16,000 semifinalists, about 14,400 are expected to advance as finalists in February. About half of the finalists then go on to win scholarships in awards to be announced in the spring.

Semifinalists who attend area schools or who are home-schooled in the county include:

Mahtomedi High School: Nicholas P. Boyd.

Stillwater Area High School: Leah B. Kosyakovsky and Lillyan Pan.

White Bear Lake Area High School-South Campus: Karl R. Breustedt and Brighid C. Niccum.

East Ridge High School: Johanna J. Back, Anna R. Bearrood, Jacob J. Knupp, Anna J. Xue, Lucy Z. Yang and Christian M. Yonkoski.

New Life Academy: Zachariah C. Rogness.

Woodbury High School: Carolyn M. Domroese, Kimberly C. Mao and Samyuktha R. Melachuri.

Home schooled: Thomas A. Washburn.


Safety features added at five district schools

Video intercom systems have been installed at five schools as part of a Stillwater Area Public Schools safety and security initiative.

Visitors seeking to enter the buildings during school hours now must be buzzed in from the front entryway. The school’s secretary or principal will confirm the person’s identity verbally and visually before allowing the person to enter, a district news release said.

Visitors also will be asked to show a photo ID when signing into the building.

According to the district, each of its schools now has a video intercom system or a controlled entrance. The video intercom systems were installed at schools that officials say could benefit from enhanced security measures due to architectural design.

The five schools are Oak Park Elementary, Andersen Elementary, Lily Lake Elementary, Afton-Lakeland Elementary and the St. Croix Valley Area Learning Center.

Superintendent Lunn to talk on levy

Stillwater Schools Superintendent Corey Lunn will discuss the district’s upcoming levy proposal at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lake Elmo Public Library, 3537 Lake Elmo Av. N.

Voters are being asked to back a request for $16.2 million in funding annually, up from the $11 million now being raised by a levy set to expire in June 2014.

The Nov. 5 ballot proposal would cost the owner of a median-valued $250,000 home about $167 more in levy costs than they pay now.


‘Fun run’ event slated at Wildwood school

The Mahtomedi Area Educational Foundation (MAEF) will hold its second annual “family fun run” fundraiser on Sept. 28 outside the new Wildwood Elementary in Grant.

The event runs from 8 to 11 a.m. and will include both the 5K fun run and a kids’ 1-mile contest.

The activities coincide with Zephyr Days Homecoming Week in Mahtomedi.

According to Jen Ruhland, event coordinator for MAEF, last year’s inaugural run drew 212 participants on a course that crisscrossed the Mahtomedi community. This year, optional obstacles and in-course entertainment will be added along both courses, she said.

MAEF is in its 25th year and has provided nearly $1.5 million in support to teachers and students in the Mahtomedi community. To register, go to

Anthony Lonetree