Featuring Prudhvie Gudapati and Ben Simon
Two seniors have been named 2018 National Merit Finalists. Prudhvie Gudapati from Barrington and Ben Simon from Geneva join a pool of 15,000 finalists who will be considered to receive one of the 7,500 Merit Scholarships that will be awarded nationally in March.
The National Merit Scholarship program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarship funds that began in 1955. About 1.6 million juniors entered the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The top scores in critical reading, mathematics and writing skills advance only 16,000 students to the Semifinalist list. 1,500 Finalists are selected by reviewing the students' academic records, written essays, participation in school and community activities, evidence of leadership and any other honors or awards received.
Watch the video of Mr. Sept announcing EA's National Merit Finalists in the Upper School assembly.
In addition to a stellar academic record, Prudhvie has an impressive list of awards and honors. He has been inducted into the Cum Laude Society, the National Honor Society, and the National Spanish Honor Society. He is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and recipient of the Bausch & Lomb Junior Science Award, the top science award for 11th-graders.
Prudhvie is involved in a wide array of activities, often in a leadership role. He is the Captain of EA's competitive Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering team, Student Council Secretary, and Co-leader of the Technology Club. He is Captain of Boys Varsity Tennis, and for his prowess on the court, he received the Player of the Year as a 9th grader and the Coach's Award as a 10th and 11th grader.
Furthermore, Prudhvie has an exceptional record of service and has participated in service trips to Nicaragua and
the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota every Spring Break since 9th grade. He is the co-leader for National Honor Society's community service chapter where he has helped organize a clothing drive for people in need and currently tutors younger students. He participates in PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter, volunteer work
at a local homeless shelter) and has served at a local medical center.
He has also interned with Automotive Robotics Inc. where he worked with electrical equipment and software. His goal at this point is to become an electrical engineer, so this internship gave him an excellent opportunity to explore this passion.
Ben not only touts a record of academic success, but he is also fully engaged in co-curricular life in the Upper School. He is currently Student Council President and has served as class representative and public relations officer in previous years. He is a vital member of the Scholastic Bowl competition team. Ben is one of only two student members of the Academy's Technology Committee, a group of administrators, faculty, and parents dedicated to guiding the growth and use of technology at EA.
Ben has a diverse personality. He has a true passion for Fine Arts. He has worked backstage and in the technical booth for Upper School plays and musicals, he is a performer with Improv Club. Additionally, he is a percussionist with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is also an athlete. Ben is a member of the Cross Country team and earned the Most Improved Award in the 9th grade and the Grit and Guts Award in the 10th grade.
He is a Latin Scholar having received Illinois Junior Classical League Convention Awards and National Latin Exam Magna Cum Laude Level II honors. He has been inducted into the International Thespian Society and the National Honor Society. He was a member of the school's award-winning Mock Trial team and earned medals as a member of the WYSE team. He received the Dartmouth College Book Award, an honor given to an outstanding junior, and he is an AP Scholar with Honor and an Illinois State Scholar.