Seven Heights High students earn National Merit honors

Heights High's National Merit Scholar Semifinalists (from left): Niko Bell and Caleb Green.

Heights High seniors Niko Bell and Caleb Green have been named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists in the 2024 competition, and now have the opportunity to advance to the finalist level and qualify for National Merit Scholarships.

Natalie Bier, Laurel Buescher, Sean Egbert, Marcus Holland and Mason Spieth were named 2024 Commended Students, placing among the top 5 percent of the students who entered.

More than 1.3 million students entered the National Merit Scholarship qualifying competition by taking the PSAT test in the fall of their junior year. Nationally, 16,000 semifinalists were recognized, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, and there were 34,000 commended students.

Bell is enrolled in Ohio’s College Credit Plus (CCP) program and spends their school day at Cleveland State University (CSU) taking courses on number theory, Eastern philosophy, pre-colonial African history, and Buddhism and Hinduism in America. Bell is active in Heights High’s extracurricular activities as president of the Gender & Sexualities Alliance and as a member of the varsity girls soccer team, the National Honors Society (NHS), and the Academic Challenge Team. Bell plans to double major in mathematics and philosophy in college. 

Green is taking AP BC calculus, chemistry, psychology, Spanish, and CCP college composition. Green commends his AP calculus teacher, Mr. O’Deens, for “the way he breaks down difficult concepts into enjoyable lessons.” He is the NHS vice president, plays on the varsity tennis and hockey teams, and is a co-founder of the Heights High ping-pong club. After graduation, Green plans to study engineering.

Bier is taking AP BC calculus, psychology, statistics, and literature and composition. As captain of the Academic Challenge Team, Bier helped Heights High win the Nordson Academic Challenge Contest last May. She is also a member of the drama club, stage crew, NHS, senior class council, and girls tennis team. After graduation, she plans to study speech-language pathology.

Buescher is taking AP biology, BC calculus, government, statistics, CCP college composition, and plays violin in the Heights High Symphony. She participates in the varsity girls soccer team, drama club, NHS, and Heights High’s environmental committee. She said CCP Introduction to American Studies was a standout for her: “We had some really great discussions in that class and I learned a lot.”

Egbert is taking AP biology and statistics, and CCP neuroscience and college composition, and is part of Heights Career Tech’s audio-engineering program. Of AP literature and composition he said, “It was the first time I felt engaged and interested in an English class, and it did wonders for my writing and grammatical abilities.” A member of the golf team, he worked sound crew for the fall musical, and is the social-media representative for the senior class council. Egbert plans to study data science/analytics and get a master’s in education.

Holland is taking AP BC calculus, environmental science, psychology, statistics and CCP college composition. Outside of academics, he is a member of NHS and the varsity baseball, bowling, and soccer teams.

Spieth is taking CCP college composition and introduction to American studies, and participates in Heights Career Tech’s audio-engineering program. He is a member of NHS and also plays alto saxophone in Symphonic Winds and the Tiger Marching Band. After graduation, Spieth plans to study computer science.

Diana Drushel

Diana Drushel, a 2011 Heights High graduate, is the parent & community liaison for Cleveland Heights High School.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:02 PM, 11.29.2023