SPARTA, NJ – Sparta High School’s Supervisor of College and Career Readiness, Danielle Colte announced Liam Rust is a 2020 National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.  To earn this honor, Rust had to have scored in the top 1% of juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2019.

“Liam is exceptional in every sense of the word,” his guidance counselor Jenna Valleau said.  “His intelligence is matched only by his work ethic, talent and incredible personality.”

Rust has a variety of interests as a Spartan.  He is a member of the STEM Academy as well as a number of choirs in school and across the state.

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He said his favorite classes are "computer science, math and choir."  He said he has been in many of the school's theatrical productions and sings in most of the choirs.  

"In my free time, I mess around with technology, program and play video games with my friends," Rust said. "I plan to go into computer science or computer programming," after high school. 

“Liam has excelled as a student and as a leader in the Computer Science strand of the Sparta High School STEM Academy,” his computer science teacher Margaret Incantalupo said.

“Liam has been an outstanding member of the Sparta High School Choirs throughout high school,” choir teacher Laura Lopez said. “He has also auditioned and participated in Sussex County Choir, North Region Choir and All State choir.  Through his commitment, he has had the opportunities to perform at Carnegie Hall and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  His dedication and willingness to help others succeed is commendable.”

For 66 years the National Merit Scholarship Corporation or NMSC has awarded scholarships based on students’ participation in the PSAT/NMSQT This year approximately 16,000 students achieved semifinalist status from the approximate 1.5 million students who sat for the test.

This pool of “academically talented high school seniors,” have the opportunity to compete for about 7,600 Merit Scholarships valued at more than $31 million according to the NMSC.

The next step for Rust will be to complete an application, similar to a college application. He will be asked to submit a transcript, a letter of recommendation and an essay. He will also need to do well on the SAT before the end of this year.

In February NMSC Finalists will be announced.  Beginning in March through July the scholarship winners will be announced. In addition to the National Merit Scholarship awards, several colleges and corporations consider NMSC finalists for their scholarship programs.

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