By Tamas Mondovics

The close of each school year is the time for students to be recognized for their achievements, a prospect for many student-athletes as well as those who stand out for their academic success.

Such recognition, of course, is nothing to scoff at given that besides the accolades and the honors, the students also earn some much-needed monetary support that covers at least some of the costs of further education.

Bloomingdale Senior High School student, Ian Ludden, is just one example of such a student as he is this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winner, chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Ludden was selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools.

The submissions sported academic records including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned, scores from two standardized tests, contributions and leadership in school and community activities, an essay written by the finalist and a recommendation written by a high school official.

As a student-athlete with a 4.0 grade point average and ranking second in a senior class of 566 while earning varsity letters all four years of high school in cross country and track and field, Ludden is also a recipient of  a $1,000 scholarship from the FHSAA, which named 24 students (12 boys and 12 girls) as Scholastic Achievement and Community Service Honorees.

During his time in school, Ludden participated in the orchestra string ensemble and Mu Alpha Theta as well as with the Computer Programming Team during his junior and senior years.

Ludden plans to attend the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN, and study computer and electrical engineering.

The Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing body for interscholastic athletic competition in Florida. It has a membership of more than 780 middle, junior and senior high schools.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.