They did it. Saint Viator High School announced last week that seniors Alex Lubinec of Cary and Joseph Orecchio of Arlington Heights joined an elite group: They were named National Merit finalists based on their preliminary SAT scores taken in 2013.

Alex Lubinec

Alex Lubinec

Officials with the National Merit Scholarship Program said that the finalist pool represents the highest scoring entrants in each state, or less than one percent of high school seniors.

Across the country, 15,000 National Merit finalists were announced this month, down from the original 1.5 million high school sophomores who took the SAT, and from this group, 7,600 National Merit Scholars will be chosen and awarded scholarships.

There are three types of scholarships awarded through the National Merit Scholarship Program:
• National Merit® $2500 Scholarships
• Corporate-sponsored scholarships
• College-sponsored scholarships

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.

Joe Orecchio

Joe Orecchio

She points 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,” Mrs. Manno added.

The National Merit Scholarship Program also recognized eight Saint Viator students as National Merit Commended Scholars. They include: Michael Baxendale, Clare Hannon, Ben Paolelli, Mackenzie Rooney, Timothy Schade, Kathyrn Vanderbosch, Peter Wilson and Alexander Witek.

All 10 of these outstanding students were selected before their freshman year to be in the Fr. Louis Querbes Honors Program, which was launched in 2010 to offer additional challenges and enrichment opportunities for motivated students.

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