COAL CITY — Early this week, a Coal City High School senior was given some good news.
The student, Justin Riebe, 17, of Goose Lake Township, heard the results of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test taken in his junior year placed him among the test’s top scorers across the U.S.
Riebe said on Monday he found out from school Principal Mitch Hamann he was selected as a 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student. He said receiving that news put his results into a bigger context, as he had already known that his scores put him in a high percentile.
“I was excited,” he said. “... It’s kind of cool knowing you’re in the top 50,000 (students) in the nation.” As a Commended Student, Riebe joins a group of about 34,000 others nationwide being recognized for their exceptional academic promise, according to a National Merit Scholarship release.
Commended students do not continue in the 2013 competition for National Merit Scholarship semifinals and finals, but are placed in the top 5 percent of the more than 1.5 million students who entered by taking the 2011 PSAT/NMSQT.
While he knew he did well on the test, he said it’s still special to receive the recognition.
“It’s a big honor,” he said. “I thought I’d do well, I just didn’t know how well everyone else would do.”
Hamann described Riebe as a hard-working student who has taken several Honors and A.P. classes during his four years at CCHS.
“I think it is a great honor to be a Commended Student within the National Merit Scholarship program,” Hamann said. “To be one of the top 50,000 out of 1.5 million is quite an accomplishment, and we are really proud of everything Justin has accomplished and will accomplish in the future.”
In addition to his studies, Riebe is involved in several extracurricular activities at the school. He participates in the school’s band, serves as an editor, and plays varsity tennis, but Riebe is also involved in NHS, science club, and the school’s math team and Scholastic Bowl team.
While not entirely certain of what career he wants to pursue in the future, he said he plans to study engineering and possibly minor in business.
At this point in the year, he’s applied to a list of different schools, from Notre Dame to Washington University in St. Louis and Oxford in the U.K.
“I’ve always wanted to go there,” he said.