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Benjamin N. Johnson, 17, of Marietta, has been named a National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist with a score of 232 out of a possible 240 on the 2006 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, placing him in the top 1% of students taking the test. His score allows him to continue in competition for some 8,200 Merit Scholarship® awards, worth $34 million, that will be offered next spring. 338 Georgia students were named Semifinalists, out of approximately 16,000 nationwide. Benjamin, who was homeschooled through 11th grade, is currently enrolled at St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy in Atlanta, and is completing his high school education as a Joint Enrollment Honors Student at Kennesaw State University, where he maintains his 4.0 high school GPA.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Benjamin serves as Southeastern Region Treasurer of the Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations (SOYO) of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, and President of the Teen SOYO at St. Stephen Orthodox Church in Hiram, GA. He has served as a member of the St. Stephen Teen Bible Bowl competitive team for 5 years, winning the Regional Championship each year, and achieving third place in the National Bible Bowl Competition in Pittsburgh in 2004 and second place in 2006. He has participated in mid-winter outreach programs to the homeless and disadvantaged in Nashville, TN, in 2005 and 2006 through Orthodox Youth Outreach. He is a founding member of Paulding County Right to Life. Benjamin has studied piano since the age of nine, having recently completed nearly three years with David Watkins, Director of Keyboard Studies at KSU, and sings in the church choir.

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