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Westlake High Senior Wins National Merit Award

Westlake High School senior and Hawthorne resident Michael Diamond's hard work has paid off and won him a National Merit Scholarship Program award.

He said he intends to put it to use at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he will enroll in the fall as an international relations major.

"It's a pretty competitive award," Diamond said, understating the significance of the one-time $2,500 award. Fewer than 1 percent of the 1.5 million students who took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test are awarded the scholarship.

Diamond's mother, Debby, was more direct. "He's worked hard. It's an amazing honor," she said.

Her son has always been self-driven, she said. "He just loves to learn," she said.

A member of the Westlake High School Junior State of America team, Diamond has won 10 Best Speaker gavels at Northeast Junior Statesmen of America Conventions . He has an interest in languages and is doing his senior year internship as an independent study, learning Portuguese on his own. He has already studied Spanish and Italian.

One of Debby and Jeff Diamond's five children, Michael also plays guitar and enjoys photography.

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