Saint Viator High School announced Wednesday that seniors Alex Lubinec of Cary and Joseph Orecchio of Arlington Heights were named semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. The two are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists in competition for 7,600 scholarships that will be offered next spring.

National Merit Scholarship Program officials said that the semifinalist title is based on preliminary SAT scores and the pool represents the highest scoring entrants in each state, or less than one percent of high school seniors.

These students will now have a chance to advance to the finalist level, from which the National Merit Scholars are chosen.

Both Lubinec and Orecchio are members of the second class of the Fr. Louis Querbes Honors Program, which launched in 2010 to offer additional challenges and enrichment opportunities for motivated students.

Saint Viator seniors Alex Lubinec (left) and Joseph Orecchio (right) were named semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Saint Viator Principal Eileen Manno said these students excel in and out of the classroom, and
have scored well on their pre-college testing, in part because of their rigorous course work pursued at Saint Viator.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for these students and their families.” Manno said. “National Merit recognition reflects their dedication and openness to learning, as well as the school’s dedication to academic excellence.”

Manno pointed to the school’s commitment to curriculum mapping, which includes identifying ACT benchmarks for college readiness, as well as its expanded Advanced Placement class offerings, equally focusing on content and skill development.

“The rigorous course of study offered to our students helps boost their performance on tests,” Manno said. Both students are enrolled in multiple AP classes this semester and are involved in different activities outside the classroom, including Scholastic Bowl. Lubinec also performed in the school play and musical, and competes in volleyball. Orecchio plays left wing and is a co-captain of the varsity hockey team.

According to National Merit Scholarship officials, 90 percent of semifinalists advance to become finalists. They must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.