Monday, September 28, 2020
Sun Valley Community School Students Vying for National Merit Scholarships
Ella Kopplin and Johnny Hagenbuch. Courtesy: Sun Valley Community School
Sunday, November 10, 2019


Sun Valley Community School seniors Johnny Hagenbuch and Ella Kopplin have been named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.

They are among 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship program. The semifinalists represent fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and were chosen from a pool of more than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools based on their results in the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

They have the opportunity to compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To do that they must fulfill several requirements. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level of competition and about half of those will win a scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Ella Kopplin, an alpine skier, is part of the Sun Valley Ski Academy, which the school runs in partnership with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. A member of the school’s Creative Arts Academy, she also is an accomplished pianist and cellist who has participated in the Sun Valley Music Festival’s music institute for several years along with the National Federation of Music Clubs where she has received superior ratings in piano.

She was also among the leaders of the recent Climate Change March, which gathered hundreds of marchers in Hailey.

Johnny Hagenbuch is a highly competitive cross-county runner and Nordic racer who also participates in  the Sun Valley Ski Academy. Hagenbuch is the youngest Nordic athlete ever to be named to the U.S. Ski Team and was part of the first-ever U.S. Men’s gold medal-winning relay team at the 2019 Junior Cross Country World Championships.

Head of School Ben Pettit praised the two students for their dedication in the classroom and beyond.

“Not only are they curious and driven students but they also excel in their chosen extracurriculars,” he said. “Beyond their personal accomplishments both Ella and Johnny are exemplary members of our community—environmental stewards, kind, inclusive and engaged.”



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