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65 Seniors Honored by National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Program recently honored 65 members of the Class of 2021.

The students are among the 50,000 highest-scoring students nationwide on the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) during their junior year.

Twenty-nine seniors were selected as semifinalists for the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Competition:

  • Andrew Abernathy
  • Avi Athota
  • Amelia Bergeron
  • Jonas Du
  • Lily Fleischmann
  • Kiran Gadde
  • Ava Gavin
  • Virginia Hatcher
  • Lucie Ide
  • Yash Kadadi
  • Siya Kaira
  • Elena Karas
  • Jordan Kopcha
  • Akshadha Lagisetti
  • Grayson Lambert
  • Sarah Lao
  • Connor Li
  • Rachel Liu
  • Andrew Mao
  • Julia Rhee
  • Pierce Roberts
  • Elle Shores
  • Matthew Spillman
  • Benjamin Spinrad
  • Anand Srinivasan
  • Zachary Walpole
  • Aaron Yu
  • Brandon Zhou
  • Gavin 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 2021.

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, 36 seniors received letters of commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise:

  • John Aldridge
  • Ronald Anglade
  • Henry Bald
  • Allison Berg
  • Samantha Bertschi
  • Alexander Changus
  • Andrew Creighton
  • Julie Dase
  • Andrew Dotson
  • Eva Earnest
  • Vance Elliott
  • Kelli Flowers
  • Teja Gadde
  • Muskaan Gupta
  • John Halliburton
  • Grace Hardymon
  • Riya Jayanthi
  • Lara Jones
  • Dev Joshi
  • Sriya Kantipudi
  • Naheun Kim
  • Rishi Manghat
  • Emma McGahan
  • Faiz Merchant
  • Ben Montag
  • Sidney Nguyen
  • Ashwin Pillai
  • Matthew Propp
  • James Richard
  • Laura Richard
  • Jack Scalise
  • Madeline Simpson
  • Sarah Street
  • Sai Tummala
  • Soumia Vellanki
  • Eric Wang

Semifinalists and commended students nationwide were selected from about 1.5 million high school students who took the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) during their junior year.

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