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Record number of seniors achieve National Merit honors

•source: NationalMerit.org

•source: NationalMerit.org

Jennifer Lechowski

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This year, the National Merit Scholarship Program has gained nine semi-finalists and nineteen commended scholars from the class of 2018. This program honors individual students who show remarkable academic ability and potential for success in college classes.

The school’s semi-finalists are seniors John Cao, Madeline Cohodes, Patrick Faley, Joshua Irvine, Andrew Jacob, Albert Kwan, John McDonough, Akansha Raj, and Shannon Steines.

The school’s commended scholars are seniors Dominic Antony, Jonah Bouvier, Erin Busche, Zachary Engstrom, Alisha Fong, Kathryn Gerardi, Aleksander Kartelyan, Amiya Kishore, Erin Loken, Riley Lundstrom, Kyle Macke, Michael McGuinness, Katherine Nowak, Yashasvini Ramkumar, Nicholas Stanczak, Caroline Stiefbold, Justyna Stukin, Mark Thomas, and Ian Ziegenhorn.

In order to participate in the program, a student must take the PSAT their junior year, be enrolled as a high school student toward graduation and be a US citizen.  Students had to score in the top three percent nation-wide to achieve these honors.

“I was excited to find out I was a semi-finalist. It was an enormous weight lifted off my chest to be done with these type of standardized tests. So, knowing that I had become a semi-finalist made me feel even better to know that my hard work paid off these past few years,” Jacob said.

“When I found out I was a commended scholar, I was pretty surprised since I didn’t see it coming. After awhile, though, I was pretty satisfied with my efforts,” Kishore said.

Becoming a semi-finalist or commended scholar comes with positive benefits.

“Having an extra honor to write on my college application may give me a competitive edge when applying for colleges so hopefully I’ll be able to get into some of my reach schools,” Loken said.

Semi-finalists and commended scholars are also invited to a celebratory breakfast at school on Nov. 14. These students will be recognized for their efforts during this time.

“I’m excited for the celebratory breakfast because everyone gets to invite one of their favorite teachers, and I’m looking forward to going with Mr. [Brad] Abel,” Jacob said.

The number of semi-finalists and commended scholars has increased greatly from previous years. Last year, there were seven semi-finalists and twelve commended scholars from the school.

“I think it’s great that the number of semi-finalists has increased in past years. This trend reflects the great work being done by the school and the students to prepare for these standardized tests,” Jacob said.

To be considered for the National Merit Scholarship, semi-finalists have to fulfill requirements before advancing to a finalist standing. They will have to fill out out a detailed scholarship application, which includes essays and information about extracurricular achievements. Also, they must earn SAT scores that confirm their qualifying test performance. Finalists will be announced in February of next year and will be awarded scholarships of $2500.

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Record number of seniors achieve National Merit honors