Three Vancouver Public Schools students have been named 2016 National Merit Semifinalists. They are, pictured above from left, Richard Lu, Skyview High School; Courtney Stump, Columbia River High School; and Gabriel Epstein, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics.

Epstein is a musician, writer, artist, scholar, community volunteer, math tutor and member of the Vancouver Lake rowing club. He hopes to earn a graduate degree in material, environmental or civil engineering, and involve himself in public policy design with the ultimate goal of making the world a better place.

Lu, who is bilingual in English and Mandarin, has said that language and music, the latter which he started playing at the age of 5, have helped him develop critical and analytical thinking. He may consider a career in international business. Recently, following the April earthquake in Nepal, Lu and his father were able to secure a donation from China of 20 tents for victims.

Stump has a 4.0 cumulative Grade Point Average and is a member of the cross-country team and the History Bowl and Science Olympiad teams. Stump also is a musician in the Portland Youth Philharmonic. She plans on becoming a surgeon with a focus on trauma or orthopedics.

These three seniors are among the 16,000 Semifinalists announced in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. They have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

In addition, VPS’ National Merit Commended Scholars include Paxton Charles, Zoe Clute, Amelia Davis and Ian Rose from Columbia River; and Audrey Maddux from VSAA.