Nine Judge Memorial students honored in the National Merit Scholarship Program

Four Judge Memorial Catholic High School students have been named semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship program. Congratulations to Ian Gorrell-Brown, Erin Malooly, Christopher Payne, and Saylor Soinski.

Judge Memorial is proud to announce that five seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. Congratulations to Caroline Holyoak, Hale Rodgers, Samuel Stevenson, Joseph Stokes, and Allison Witte

Ian, Erin, Christopher, and Saylor, all of Salt Lake City, are among the nation's top academically talented high school seniors with the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalists level of the competition. These four students are among only one percent of the nation’s eligible high school students to gain the honor, according to the National Merit Scholarship program. The semifinalists will compete for National Merit scholarships. Finalists will be announced in February, and scholarship winners will be named in the spring. 

Caroline, Hale, Sam, Joseph, and Allison have been presented with a Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, in recognition of their academic achievement as scholastically talented seniors.

Ian is the son of Kathleen Brown and Mike Gorrell. Ian is a member of National Honor Society, Mock Trial, the State Math team and the swim team. He has completed volunteer service with St. Ambrose Parish, The King’s English bookstore, and J.E. Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School. In the summer prior to his senior year, Ian worked in the Rosenblatt Lab at the Huntsman Cancer Institute on a research project investigating how tumors metastasize. Following his internship, he was hired part-time to continue his research with the principal investigator, a role he is continuing through this school year. Ian is a graduate of J.E. Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School. Undecided on his college plans, Ian is leaning toward a career in biology or research biology. 

Erin is the daughter of John and Ann Malooly. She has received Academic Awards for Excellence in German in ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades. She is a member of National Honor Society and girls’ volleyball, and was a school finalists in the annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Erin is a generous volunteer, having worked at the St. Catherine of Siena Newman Ceenter, McGillis School, Utah Food Bank, with the Brighton Ski Team, and with Bad Dog Arts, a local non-profit serving kids, teens, and adults in the creative arts. Erin is a graduate of The McGillis School. She is exploring the options of majoring in art, German, psychology, or one of the research sciences in college. 

Christopher is the son of Robert and Jennifer Payne. A member of the National Honor Society, State Math Team, English Quest, and a literary magazine staffer, he has earned an Academic Excellence Award in Mathematics. A school finalists in Poetry Out Loud, Christopher was an Alliance for Young Artists and Writers spring 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Silver Key Award recipient. Christopher has volunteered at the Madeleine Choir School Summer Camp and this past summer in Ecuador with Amigos de las Americas, a non-profit international youth leadership and community service program. Christopher is a graduate of the Madeleine Choir School. His college plans are undecided, but his is interested medical field. 

Saylor is the daughter of Jeff and Stacey Soinski. She has earned a Academic Awards in both Mathematics and French, and has been named a National French Exam laureate winner. A member of National Honor Society and the State Math Team, she participated on the Debate Team and, as a junior, received the Most Valuable Participant in Debate. Saylor volunteers with Courage Reins, a local equestrian therapeutic therapy center. As a sophomore, Saylor traveled to the International Special Olympics in Korea were she helped set up and take down equipment, serve breakfast to athletes, and volunteered with unity sports, where the teams were mixed with people with and without intellectual disabilities. A graduate of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Saylor is interested in majoring in environmental science. 

Caroline Holyoak is the daughter of William and Linda Holyoak of Salt Lake City. She is a four-year member of Student Council, currently serving as Student Body Vice-President. She is a member of National Honor Society, Mock Trial, State Math Team, girls’ soccer, and girls’ golf. She has been a multiple category honoree in the annual state-wide English Quest competition. Caroline has received numerous academic awards for excellence, including in English, Spanish, Physical Education, and Theology. A graduate of J.E. Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School, she has volunteered at the University of Utah Reading Clinic, the Glendale Community Learning Center, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, the Soup Kitchen, and J.E. Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School.   

Hale Rodgers is the son of Rob and Dawn Rodgers of Salt Lake City. A member of National Honor Society and the boys’ golf team, Hale also participates on the State Math Team and the Debate Team. He has earned academic excellence awards in Human Geography and Latin. University of Utah University hospital valet service, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Utah Arts Festival, Judge Memorial, St. Thomas More.  

Sam Stevenson is the son of Lori Krasny and Jeff Stevenson of Salt Lake City. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has participated in numerous activities throughout his years at Judge including State Math Team, Drum Line, and Student Council. He received the Most Inspirational Award in National Honor Society as a junior. He has received academic awards for excellence in AP Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and Mathematics. The summer prior to his junior year, Sam experienced college-level research at the University of Utah working with molecular dynamics simulations of proton transfer in fuel cells. A graduate of The McGillis School, Sam has volunteered with Congregation of Kol Ami and with the Children's Center.  

Joseph Stokes is the son of Christopher and Catherine Stokes of Bountiful. A member of National Honor Society and the Debate Team, he has participated in track and field and the State Math Team. He was a school honorable mention honoree in the school’s annual Poetry Out Loud competition, a member of the 2014 Homecoming Court, and a member of the Choir at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Joseph has received numerous academic awards for excellence throughout his years at Judge including in Latin, Social Studies, English, AP European History, Honors Biology, and English. A graduate of the Madeleine Choir School, Joseph is an active volunteer working with the Madeleine Choir School and the Choir School’s Summer Camp, St. Olaf Catholic School and with Catholic Community Services.  

Allison Witte is the daughter of Madolin Witte and Chris Freymuller of Salt Lake City. Allison is a member of the National Honor Society and has received a Presidential Service Award for her service locally, state-wide, and internationally.  A member and captain of the girls’ swim team, Allison has received the Most Valuable Participant Award in swimming in both her sophomore and junior years. She has been awarded UHSAA First, Second, and Third Team All-State honors in swimming. Allison has volunteered with the South Main Spanish Speaking Clinic, Race Swami, Guadalupe School, and Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS) with whom she worked in Panama.  

All winners of Merit Scholarship awards will be chosen from the finalist group, based on their abilities, skills and accomplishments. Beginning in February and continuing to June, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. will notify about 8,000 finalists that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship award. These awards are of three types: National Merit scholarships, which are awarded without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or major and career plans; corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards; and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.  

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2015 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2015 competition by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).   

“The young men and women named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokeperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their school plays in academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”   

For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, please visit