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September 14, 2022

Badin High’s Giffen and Zettler named National Merit semifinalists

Badin High’s Giffen and Zettler named National Merit semifinalists

Badin High School seniors Mary Giffen and Jimmy Zettler have taken advantage of their educational opportunities over the years -- and their efforts have today accounted for major academic recognition.

Giffen and Zettler are National Merit Scholarship semifinalists – a prestigious designation that less than 1 percent of American high school seniors earn.

“Excited” and “proud” were words that came out of both of their mouths as they thought about their high-profile achievement.

Giffen, a graduate of Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School in Liberty Township, and Zettler, from Sacred Heart School in Fairfield, turned in their outstanding performances while taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in the fall of 2021 in order to be eligible for the 2023 National Merit Scholarship program.

“What an excellent accomplishment for two terrific young people,” Badin Principal Patrick Keating said. “They take their academics seriously – but they also take their overall high school experience seriously. They are both talented, well rounded students. This recognition is well-earned on their part.”

“I appreciate all of the opportunities I’ve had to help me succeed in school,” said Zettler, who was at Rice University in Houston for two weeks this summer at an Aerospace and Engineering Academy.

“Badin is a great community,” added Zettler, the son of Jim and Edwina Zettler of Fairfield. “It’s allowed me to pursue all of the classes and fields that I’m interested in. The advanced classes have really encouraged me to work to be better.”

“I’m proud because I feel like this recognizes all the hard work I have put in over the years,” said Giffen, no stranger to academic success. She earned a full scholarship to Badin based on her performance on the High School Placement Test as an 8th grader. Her older brother, Will, from Badin’s Class of 2020, was the co-valedictorian and a National Merit Commended Student.

“I’m thankful for my parents and teachers and all that they have done to help me get to this point,” Giffen added. “I’m very grateful for my Badin experience. I feel like it’s allowed me to grow both academically and as a person. It’s allowed me to become the best version of myself.”

Giffen, the daughter of Michael and Marie Giffen of Liberty Township, is looking at a potential pre-med track – she was in the Mercy Health Medical Explorers Program as a junior -- and considering schools such as Loyola of Chicago, Notre Dame, St. Louis University and the University of Kentucky.

Mary is the president of Badin’s National Honor Society, on the Service Leadership Board, in the Scholar/Leader program, a Student Ambassador and runs cross country for Badin.

Zettler is planning on Mechanical Engineering as he looks at Georgia Tech, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Notre Dame and Purdue. He is in the Scholar/Leader Academy, a Student Ambassador, and plays soccer, golf and tennis for Badin.

Some 1.6 million juniors took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in the fall of 2021. There are approximately 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists throughout the country. Of those, about 15,000 will be named finalists in the spring, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will award some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million.

The National Merit Scholarship program was established in 1955 with the goal of “honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.”

Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, or (513) 869-4490

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