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64 Seniors Honored by National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Program recently honored 64 members of the Class of 2020.

The students are among the 50,000 highest-scoring students nationwide on the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) during their junior year.

Twenty-six seniors were selected as semifinalists for the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Competition:

  • Ridings Bald
  • J.D. Blitch
  • Anup Bottu
  • Dickson Bowman
  • Sara Ann Brackett
  • Matthew Cha
  • Claire Chen
  • Johnny Fang
  • Dhruva Ghosh
  • Gillian Gracey
  • Lauren Kennedy
  • Katie Krupczak
  • Albert Liang
  • Caroline Lingle
  • Sydney Martin
  • Walker McPhail
  • Caroline Miller
  • Rhea Niyyar
  • Henry Rosenblath
  • Laura Sams
  • Cole Seagroves
  • Sameer Sinha
  • Brooke Stevens
  • Catherine Wang
  • Meimei Xu
  • Claire Zhou

These seniors are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide, which represents less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors. The semifinalists are competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $32 million. Those scholarships will be announced in the spring of 2020.

To be considered for a Merit Scholar award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level, including academic records, community participation, leadership abilities, and honors received. The semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by a school official, write an essay, and achieve SAT scores that validate the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level. The approximately 7,500 National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen from that group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

In addition, 37 seniors received letters of commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise:

  • Scott Arbery
  • Daniel Barra
  • Parker Battin
  • Nicholas Buhay
  • William Buhay
  • Elizabeth Carter
  • Kevin Chen
  • Stephanie Choi
  • Turner Cravens
  • Patrick Diaz
  • Emre Duvenci
  • Claire Emch
  • Alik Emelianov
  • Cameron Foster
  • Ananya Ganesh
  • David Goetze
  • Christopher Gryboski
  • Mei Mei Hawkins
  • James Hernandez
  • Lewis James
  • Ashley Jian
  • Trevor Jones
  • Saanya Kapasi
  • Matthew Lamberth
  • Jonah Medoff
  • Jane Miller
  • Ana Palacios
  • Aditi Pande
  • Kunal Poddar
  • Zachary Roe
  • Schyler Rowland
  • Emily Seo
  • Armaan Sett
  • Andrew Stevens
  • Coleman Thompson
  • Roshan Vemuri
  • Kate Zeising

Semifinalists and commended students nationwide were selected from about 1.6 million high school students who took the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) during their junior year.

The National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) also recognizes approximately 5,000 Hispanic/Latino students each year from among the more than 400,000 students who took the PSAT during their junior year. Unlike National Merit, the NHRP is administered directly by the College Board and Scholarship America, qualifying levels are set by region, and recognition requires a minimum GPA of 3.5. National Merit recognition is by state and does not consider a GPA until the finalist portion of the competition. Westminster has five students from the Class of 2020 who are Hispanic Scholars:

  • Daniel Barra
  • Patrick Diaz
  • James Hernandez
  • Riley Hernandez
  • Ana Palacios

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