Maui News

Maui Student Named Merit Scholar

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Laney Flanagan

Graduating Maui High School senior, Laney Flanagan was selected as a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winner.

She was among 2,500 students from across the nation selected for the honor out of 15,000 finalists.

Flanagan plans a probable career in Chemistry.

“We are proud of these students for receiving national recognition for their hard work and extracurricular accomplishments,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “Congratulations to them and their families, as well as the teachers and administrators who supported them throughout their academic career. We wish each of them the best as they pursue their college and career goals.” 

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.


These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions offi cers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including diffi culty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.


NMSC will announce winners of additional college-sponsored scholarships on June 6 and July 16.

Flanagan was also a semifinalist in the US Presidential Scholars Program.

She was one of 530 semifinalists selected from nearly 5,300 candidates expected to graduate from US high schools this year.


Inclusion in the US Presidential Scholars Program is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.

The US Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 by Executive Order of the President to recognize some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors for their accomplishments in many areas: academic success, leadership and service to school and community.

It was expanded in 1979 to recognize students demonstrating exceptional scholarship and talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was expanded once again to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical fields.

Annually, up to 161 US Presidential Scholars are chosen from among that year’s senior class, representing excellence in education and the promise of greatness in America’s youth.

A distinguished panel of educators have reviewed these submissions and selected 630 semifinalists. The Commission on Presidential Scholars selected the finalists this month.  The Hawaiʻi finalists included: Mylia H. Briggs, Kapolei – Kapolei High School; Davey Huang, Honolulu – ʻIolani School; and Isabelle J. Rhee, Honolulu – Punahou School.

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