Students named National Merit Commended Scholars
Sibley students named National Merit Commended Scholars
Posted on 10/24/2017

Picture of National Merit Commended ScholarsHenry Sibley High School and School District 197 congratulate seniors Gabriel Fromm, Max Gantman and Thomas Miranda, who have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program as Commended Scholars.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in their sophomore year.

Of the 1.6 million entrants, nearly 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. About 34,000 of the qualifiers, like Fromm, Gantman and Miranda, receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise.

An additional 16,000 students with the highest test scores are named Semifinalists and invited to apply for a chance to become a finalist and earn scholarships. This year Henry Sibley had three students named as semifinalists. Learn more about seniors Katie Gleason, Anna Klein and Natalie Nachtsheim at

Picture of Gabriel FrommName: Gabriel Fromm
Hometown: West St. Paul
Parents: Julie and Doug Fromm
Other District 197 Schools Attended: Moreland Elementary and Heritage E-STEM Magnet
Post-Graduation Plans: Attend college to pursue a degree in physics, math or engineering

Throughout his high school career, Gabriel Fromm has worked hard to make sure he takes advantage of the many opportunities at Henry Sibley—from sports to clubs to academics.

“I have had the opportunity to find and join many different clubs and activities,” said Gabriel. “I have been able to take a wide range of classes, and … because I have had many challenging classes and have had excellent teachers to help along the way, I feel ready for college and well prepared for the challenges that I will encounter there.”

Among Gabriel’s list of challenging courses are nine Advanced Placement (AP) classes, including Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, U.S. History, World History, Physics Mechanics C, Language and Composition, Chemistry and Music Theory.

In 2016, Gabriel was the only person from his class to be named an AP Scholar. This distinction is awarded to students who complete three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher. This year Gabriel was named an AP Scholar with Distinction for receiving an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of the exams.

When asked which class he liked best at Henry Sibley Gabriel said, “Physics is my favorite subject in school, and a huge reason for this is that I had Mr. (Peter) Bohacek and Ms. (Elizabeth) Howatt as teachers. They have both done an excellent job of teaching and have sparked my interest of pursuing physics further.”

Throughout the past four years, Gabriel has been a member of the Henry Sibley Orchestra program. Outside of class, he participates in Ultimate Frisbee, Model United Nations, National Honor Society (NHS) and Robotics. He is also one of the captains of the Speech and Debate team this year, along with fellow Commended Scholar, Thomas Miranda.

Gabriel even finds time to be active in the community as a member of Boy Scout Troop 248 based in West Saint Paul.

Picture of Max GantmanName: Max Gantman
Hometown: Mendota Heights
Parents: David and Kristin Gantman
Other District 197 Schools Attended: Mendota Elementary and Friendly Hills Middle School
Post-Graduation Plans: Attend college to study finance or engineering

Max Gantman has a full schedule of academics and activities year round, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. This year he will be one of the captains of the football team and the baseball team, vice president of the Business Professionals of America (BPA) club and a member of the National Honor Society (NHS) and the table tennis team. Throughout high school Max has been on Student Council, LINK Crew and involved in the Drama program.

“Sibley has done a great job of preparing me for life after high school and given me opportunities to be involved in clubs and activities that I never thought I would have liked,” said Max. “Sibley has also given me the opportunity to develop as a leader and a person. It has exposed me to a diversity of races, cultures and beliefs that have prepared me for the real world.”

As a student, Max has taken many of Henry Sibley’s most challenging courses including Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, World History, Chemistry, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Language and Composition, Physics Mechanics C and Psychology. He has also taken Concurrent Enrollment (CE) Spanish IV at Henry Sibley through Minnesota State University-Mankato.

“I have really liked every teacher that I've had at Sibley, but my two favorites are Mr. (Eric) Friberg and Mrs. (Aimee) Noeske,” said Max. “Both teachers have shown me that school isn't all about learning what's in a textbook, but finding what you like and pursuing it.”

Outside of school, Max is active in his Temple’s youth group, serving as the group’s vice president. He has also worked in the community with Special Olympics Minnesota and as a basketball referee the Mendota Heights Athletic Association (MHAA).

When asked about a high school memory that will stay with him after graduation, Max shared a story about the Give Once For All (GOFA) assembly two years ago.

“Mr. (Steve) Lufkin had been diagnosed with ALS and Sibley was raising money for ALS research. At the assembly, we presented the Lufkin family with a $3,000 check to cover medical bills and other costs. I will always remember this because Mr. and Mrs. (Stacy) Lufkin had been two of my favorite teachers and I knew how much this would mean for them. I was really proud of Sibley for giving back to two teachers who had given so much to the community.”

Picture of Thomas MirandaName: Thomas Miranda
Hometown: Mendota Heights
Parents: Thom Miranda and Roberta Meyers
Other District 197 Schools Attended: Friendly Hills Middle School
Post-Graduation Plans: Attend college to study economics

Thomas Miranda has found his niche at Henry Sibley as a member of the band program and Speech and Debate team. In fact, he is one of the captains of the Speech and Debate team this year, along with fellow Commended Scholar, Gabriel Fromm.

As a musician, Thomas plays the trumpet and is particularly interested in jazz. He is ‘first trumpet’ in Henry Sibley’s Jazz Band and earned the opportunity to play first trumpet in the All-Metro East Conference Jazz Band this past January.

“I remember going to Eau Claire, Wisconsin with the jazz band in 9th and 10th grade,” said Thomas. “Walking around during the jazz festival with my friends, and just listening to all the different groups and people playing was really fun.”

Thomas has challenged himself in several rigorous courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, World History, U.S. History, Calculus AB. He was named an AP Scholar this year for his efforts. Thomas has also taken College in the Schools (CIS) Physics by Inquiry at Henry Sibley through the University of Minnesota.

When asked which class he liked best in high school Thomas said, “…social studies because it opens your eyes to all the different people and places around the world. I remember taking AP World History in 10th grade and loving every second of the class. Mr. (Tom) Myers was really fun and taught the class very well.”