These are the students who are finalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. (Photo: Contributed)

Seven seniors in Hamilton County Schools have been recognized among the nation’s top high school seniors after they were named finalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Below is the news release that highlights the students from the school system.

Only 15,000 high school seniors nationwide earn this distinguished honor each year.  

Hamilton County seniors honored are Zoe Zimmerman, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences; Annika Lee, Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State; Elias Basler, STEM School Chattanooga; Joseph Azevedo and Joshua Lagria, East Hamilton High; Phillip Dyer, Ooltewah High and Tamjeed Azad, Signal Mountain High.

These academically talented seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $433 million.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, the high school seniors had to excel on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which is the initial screening tool used by the program.  The recognized seniors represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and are among the highest scoring entrants in each state.

Tamjeed Azad, a senior at Signal Mountain High School, would like to attend a large research university and study biomedical engineering.

Joseph Azevedo, a senior at East Hamilton High School, plans to study and work in the field of computer science.

Elias Basler, a senior at Chattanooga STEM School, aspires to be a computer programmer.

Phillip Dyer, a senior at Ooltewah High, plans to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.

Joshua Lagria, a senior at East Hamilton High School, plans to study mechanical engineering.

Annika Lee is an early graduate of Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State and currently enrolled as a freshman at Southern Adventist University.  She plans to major in education and teach math or chemistry.

Zoe Zimmerman, a senior at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, plans a career in a medical field after graduation.

Each of these high performing seniors has excellent postsecondary options and are applying to some of the country’s top colleges and universities.  Some institutions of higher learning considered by the teens include MIT, Columbia, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Stanford, University of Chicago and Vanderbilt.