This is an excerpt of On Assignment, education writer Theresa Harrington's blog on Contra Costa County schools. Read more and post comments at IBABuzz.com/onassignment. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa or Facebook.com/TheresaHarringtonBANG.

April 25

Congratulations to the 22 East Bay high school seniors who are National Merit Scholarship Corporation Program winners.

The students were chosen based on their strong performance on the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, along with essays and participation in extracurricular activities, awards, leadership, academic accomplishment and a recommendation.

Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships to finalists who are children of their employees, residents of communities the companies serve and students who plan to pursue college majors or careers encouraged by the sponsor.

Scholarships range from $500 to $10,000 per year and can be used at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

Here is a list of the 13 Alameda County students and nine Contra Costa County students who will receive the awards, in alphabetical order by city, followed by the student's name, school, probable career field and scholarship sponsor:

ALAMEDA COUNTY

Albany: Suzanne Becker, Albany High, computer programming, Novartis

Albany: Naomi Hamada, Albany High, engineering, Chevron Corporation

Dublin: Florian Stumpf, Dublin High, medicine, Nelson F. Peterson scholarship from Hoffmann-La Roche

Fremont: Eric Deng, Mission San Jose High, mechanical engineering (automotive), Lockheed Martin

Fremont: Anish Kannan, Mission San Jose High, computer science, Macy's Inc.

Fremont: Sanjay Sreekumar, Mission San Jose High, computer science, E*Trade Financial Corporation

Fremont: Grace Wu, Mission San Jose High, English literature, Automatic Data Processing, Inc.

Fremont: Jonathan Xu, St. Francis High in Mountain View, computer science, MetLife Foundation

Livermore: Steven Wang, Granada High, computer engineering, Boeing

Pleasanton: Melody Huang, Amador Valley High, economics, Moody's Foundation

Pleasanton: John Malchar, Amador Valley High, public service, Calmer L. Johnson/John W. Leslie scholarship from Illinois Tool Works Foundation

Pleasanton: Alicia Yang, Foothill High, oncology, Nelson F. Peterson scholarship from Hoffmann-La Roche

Union City: Katie Chang, James Logan High, business management, CSC

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Moraga: Jennifer Li, Miramonte High in Orinda, biological engineering, Bayer

Moraga: Julia Shen, Miramonte High in Orinda, medicine, Nelson F. Peterson scholarship from Hoffmann-La Roche

Orinda: Talbot Jacobs, Oakland Preparatory School in Oakland, economics, Chevron Corporation

Pleasant Hill: Larry Wang, Acalanes High in Lafayette, computer science, Bayer

San Ramon: Aditya Bhumbla, California High, computer science, Chevron Corporation

San Ramon: Liyang Huang, Dougherty Valley High, biotechnology, Nelson F. Peterson scholarship from Hoffmann-La Roche

San Ramon: Jamie Shen, Dougherty Valley High, history, Chevron Corporation

San Ramon: Allison Zhong, Dougherty Valley High, medicine, Novartis

Congratulations also to East Bay schools named in US News and World Report's recent ranking of the best high schools in the state and country. Here are nine that made the top 50 in California, listed by state rank, national rank, school, city and county:

6, 44: American Indian Public High, Oakland, Alameda

11, 67: KIPP King Collegiate High, San Lorenzo, Alameda

20, 143: Campolindo High, Moraga, Contra Costa

29, 184: Leadership Public Schools, Hayward, Alameda

34, 200: Piedmont High, Piedmont, Alameda

43, 248: Miramonte High, Orinda, Contra Costa

46, 256: Amador Valley High, Pleasanton, Contra Costa

47, 257: Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, Oakland, Alameda

48, 260: Acalanes High, Lafayette, Contra Costa