There are solid students, and then there are those who possess a certain academic prowess that places them a cut above the rest.

Consider it all in a hard day's work for Palmerton's Karl Pielmeier, whose wizardry in the classroom is being recognized nationally.

A senior at Palmerton Area High School, Pielmeier was named a commended student in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

High school Principal Kathy Egan presented a Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program, to the scholastically talented student.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation have been recognized for their exceptional academic promise.

Although they will not continue in the 2012 competition for National Merit Scholarships, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2012 competition by taking the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Pielmeier said he was "very excited" to learn that he was a Commended Student.

"I didn't think I had been commended because almost a year had passed since I had taken the PSAT, and I didn't hear anything about the tests or the Merit Scholarships," Pielmeier said. "Then, I was called into the guidance office one day, and my counselor told me the exciting news. Thinking I hadn't been selected, it made the news even more of a pleasant surprise."

Pielmeier said he was "honored and grateful" for the distinction.

"Studying and working hard throughout school definitely helped me attain the commendation, but it wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and dedication of my teachers," he said. "Good teachers are often taken for granted today, which is unfair, because their help and guidance is truly invaluable. Without teachers, I would've never been able to receive this commendation, or any other achievement."

Pielmeier said being a Commended Student "is such a tremendous honor."

"It is absolutely crucial for schools like Palmerton to offer as many AP Courses as possible to challenge and prepare students," he said. "With hardworking teachers and challenging curriculum, students can achieve anything."

A spokesperson for NMSC commented "the young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success."

"These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities, and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."