Kingman High students earn National Merit Scholarship nod

Alec Gibelyou, left, and David Joe were named National Merit Scholarship winners and will receive $2,500 each to pursue educational opportunities.<BR>KIM STEELE/Miner

Alec Gibelyou, left, and David Joe were named National Merit Scholarship winners and will receive $2,500 each to pursue educational opportunities.<BR>KIM STEELE/Miner

KINGMAN - Two Kingman High School students have been named National Merit Scholarship winners and will receive $2,500 each toward the college of their choice.

Alec Gibelyou, 18, and David Joe, 17, both seniors, were chosen from about 15,000 finalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Winners were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, based on the students' academic record, scores from two standardized tests, contributions and leadership in school, a written essay and a recommendation from a high school official.

"This scholarship will be really useful to me," said Gibelyou. "I don't have a set career plan yet, but I am interested in pursuing biomedical engineering because it would be a good use of my skills.

"It's a worthy cause to try to cure illnesses like cancer and birth defects. My interest lies in developing techniques, equipment and methods to solve medical problems."

Gibelyou said he has been accepted at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and will use his scholarship there. Then he hopes to continue his education at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. But first, Gibelyou will be taking a two-year break from school to serve as a missionary in Chile for the Kingman Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This year's National Merit Scholarship competition began in October 2011, when about 1.5 million juniors in 22,000 U.S. high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than 1 percent, or 16,000, of the nation's high school seniors, were named semifinalists last fall.

From that group, 15,000 students moved on to the finalist level this year, and about 8,000 will be chosen to receive more than $35 million in college scholarships.

Kingman High School Principal Patrick Carey commended the students for their achievement.

"Both of these young men exhibit everything that's great about Kingman High School, the community and this great country," he said. "Their parents have every right to have an enormous sense of pride."

Joe said he plans to use his scholarship for a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Ill. He originally focused on a degree in music performance because he plays tenor saxophone, but decided a job as a professional musician isn't very stable. Then he toyed with the idea of a degree in music production engineering.

"So I decided on a straightforward degree in electrical engineering," said Joe. "The course is pretty general at the beginning, and that will give me time to decide what I want to do with it. A lot of people in music production have electrical engineering backgrounds, so you never know. I'm really excited about going to school in Illinois and I plan to see Chicago while I'm there. And I really can't wait to experience the cold weather I've heard about in the Midwest."

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