A CHS senior earns rare National Merit finalist berth

By on March 2, 2016


Cocalico High School senior Kayla Logar has been named a National Merit Scholarship finalist, putting her in the running for one of 7,400 scholarships to be awarded this spring.

The Denver resident is just the district’s second finalist. High school English teacher Lindsay Sigman, Cocalico Class of 2002, also reached the final stage of the competition.

National Merit competitors are selected based on PSAT and SAT scores, but finalists must also submit an essay and document their extracurricular involvement.

Photo by Kimberly Marselas Cocalico High School senior Kayla Logar is an accomplished pianist.

Photo by Kimberly Marselas
Cocalico High School senior Kayla Logar is an accomplished pianist.

Logar is an accomplished pianist, who provides accompaniment for many choral and theatrical productions at both Cocalico High School and Cocalico Middle School. She has appeared in the high school musical in each of her four years, culminating in her role as a puppet-like Duloc dancer in “Shrek: The Musical” running March 11 to 13.

She’s also an avid tennis player who spends her autumns on the court for the Eagles. She played varsity in grades 10 through 12, and was named a captain last year.

Logar’s truest passion is for music. Her resume is packed with performance and awards. She sings alto, but said the piano is like an extension of her voice.

“I really enjoy how you can emote through different songs,” Logar said. “Especially with a choir, you adapt your play to how they’re singing.”

She can play classical, modern, or Broadway tunes with ease, noting an accompaniment she played for selections from the musical “Les Miserables.”

She has played with county and district choirs, as well as at Hershey’s Music in the Parks and in the countywide Festivals of Music competition.

Logar began taking piano lessons in second grade, but she had started plucking notes on an old electronic keyboard in her own house long before that. Now 17, she’s taking a music theory class at school and composing her own classical preludes. She also has a modern electric piano for practice sessions at home.

For her National Merit essay, Logar wrote about relative experience, and how her view of the piano and the music-making process has evolved as she’s become a more practiced performer.

She also submitted impressive SAT results. Her best scores on the college-entrance exam totaled 2,290 out of a possible 2,400.

“We’re very proud of her, but not really surprised,” said her mom, Justine Logar, who works as a paraprofessional at Cocalico High. “Anything you give her, she’s very quick to learn.”

Justine Logar believes her daughter’s commitment to piano helped in school, particularly in math. She describes Kayla as “calm, detail-oriented, hard-working and determined to reach her goals.”

Kayla Logar plans to major in mathematics, possibly pursuing a career in actuarial science. She applied to 10 colleges, looking for strong music programs so that she can continue performing in her spare time.

She has so far been accepted to two schools, and expects to hear from the others by April.

She said her final decision will likely come down to financial aid packages. The Logar family also includes her dad, Dave, and a brother, Timothy, who attends the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown.

As a Merit Scholarship finalist, Logar is competing for prizes totaling more than $32 million, with about 2,500 awards of $2,500 each. Winners will be announced in four rounds between April and July.

The honors began in fall, when the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists. Of those, about 90 percent earn finalist standing after completing additional requirements.

The corporation names its own recipients, as do large national businesses and hundreds of schools across the U.S.


  1. maribeth petery

    March 2, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Fred Stauffer of Adamstown received a merit scholarship to Albright College in 1963.

  2. maribeth petery

    March 2, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Fred Stauffer of Adamstown received a merit scholarship to Albright College in 1963.HE WAS a graduate of Cocalico.

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