Congratulations to Roycemore School Senior Benjamin Hurley, who is among the approximately 16,000 national semifinalists announced today by officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for their 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Ben is a Robert Eisner Distinguished Scholar at Roycemore, earning him a full-ride academic scholarship for high school. Established by the late Dr. Robert Eisner and his wife Edith, the Eisner Scholar award is granted to academically gifted students who also demonstrate leadership ability. Mrs. Eisner, who has been involved with Roycemore since 1958 as a teacher, Admissions Director, trustee and more, says, “Ben is the quintessential Eisner Scholar. He is so smart, driven and really benefits from the individualized attention students receive at Roycemore.” Ben is also student government president this year and has completed college classes at Northwestern University as part of our NU option in Upper School.
Ben plans to pursue a career in Marine Biology, and he spent this past summer interning in a laboratory at Northwestern’s Pancoe-NSUHS Life Sciences Pavilion. His work was part of a study that involves conducting tests on frog embryos.
“I was in there each day applying a new treatment to the frog embryos and marking the effects,” he explains. “Frog embryos are so like human cells in how they react to these experiments, they have long-reaching possibilities in the areas of life science and even in cancer treatment research.” Ben also used January Short Term (JST)–the three weeks of independent study and projects that Upper Schoolers complete between first and second semesters–to further his scientific knowledge and lab experience.
Ben came to Roycemore from a northwest suburban public school as a freshman. “I looked at my public school and there just wasn’t the opportunity for me to have real control of my schedule or options for pursuing my interests,” he says. “I know that I would have found a way to pursue my scientific interests, but Roycemore opened a door that I did not know could be opened. Roycemore, JST and the internship have given me the confidence I needed to know that this really was a good field for me to pursue. I know that someday I will also be able to open doors for those who come after me.”
Ben and other academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition, including participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership ability, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
We are very proud of Ben and what he has accomplished during his Upper School career, and we congratulate him for this latest achievement!