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The graduating Gopher plays oboe, is on the tennis team and will attend Arizona State University

COURTESY PHOTO: SAMUEL ZHOU - Samuel Zhou, who plays tennis and the clarinet, just won a prestigious National Merit Scholarship. Gresham High School senior Samuel Zhou has won a prestigious National Merit Scholarship and will attend Arizona State University.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced Wednesday, June 6, the 3,500 winners of the scholarships nationwide. The scholarships are financed by the colleges and universities the students plan to attend. The awards range from $500 to $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study.

"I'm really grateful for the opportunity to attend ASU on a scholarship," Zhou said, adding that he was "quite surprised" to be a recipient.

Zhou, who boasts a 4.0 grade-point average, is interested in becoming a computer scientist and hopes to put his computer skills to work on environmental issues.

"I'm interested in the process and breaking down problems into smaller components," he said.

Zhou's mom is a dentist and his dad works as a researcher in a hospital.

Zhou, who attended Hogan Cedars Elementary School and Dexter McCarty Middle School, is on the Gresham High tennis team, plays clarinet in the band and is a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

About 7,600 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships, totaling more than $31 million, come from a pool of more than 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools. These students entered the 2019 scholarship program by taking the 2017 PSAT or Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

To compete for the awards, students who became semifinalists had to complete additional requirements including a detailed scholarship application, which included an essay. The had to provide information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions.

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