The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

36 seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

Thirty-six students were called to library by the guidance department on Aug. 29 to receive letters from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) stating that they were selected as  the National Merit Semifinalists for scoring in the top 1 percent of students nationally on the PSAT.
Of the approximate 1.5 million students who took the October 2011 PSAT/NMSQT as juniors and met other requirements to participate in the 2013 competition for National Merit recognition and scholarships,  about 16,000 students qualified as semifinalists.
Saratoga High has consistently had a large number of students designated as semifinalists. Last year a record 38 seniors qualified for the honor. 
“The achievement of the National Merit Semifinalists as with the general population here is remarkable,” assistant principal Brian Safine said. “We should be looking at three, four [or] five students, but having 36 means that we’ve exceeded the national average by a factor of nine.”
Safine believes that it is important to note that although  the designation of National Merit Semifinalist comes from the performance on one qualifying test, beneath the surface is a collaborative process built on “cooperation and dedication between students and teachers across grade levels.”
Senior Justin Chiang agrees that support from the school was critical to his success in becoming becoming a semifinalist. He said his achievement brings him one step closer to making college more affordable.
“Our school distributes practice tests and encourages people to take [the PSAT],” Chiang said. “I think that’s something that’s special about Saratoga and it helps everybody succeed.”
To senior Nandita Sampath, the news was an unexpected honor.
“I did not study very much for it, so I was surprised that I got it,” Sampath said. “It’s . . . an honor that you take and be happy with.”
Semifinalists were asked to submit paperwork and a letter of recommendation from the guidance department to be considered for being among the 15,000 students who become finalists. 
The semifinalists are seniors Niharika Bedekar, Elyse Berlinberg, Shreya Chaganti, Justin Chiang, Amanda Chow, Edward Dong, Andy Fang, McKenna Galvin, Kevin Garbe, Jacqueline Gu, Catherine Han, Dylan Jew, Evaline Ju, Paul Jung, Brian M. Kim, Brian Y. Kim, Michael Lee, Ye Seon Lee, Nole Lin, Maggy Liu, Aneesa Mazumdar, Priyanka Nookala, Suzannah Osekowsky, Nandita Sampath, Deborah Soung, Bhavana Vadrevu, Joyce Wang, Terrance Wang, Patrick Xiao, Christine Xue, Rebecca Yang, Matthew Yee, Stanley Yip, Michael Zhang, Geena Zhou and Sophia Zhu.
On Oct. 17, a celebratory breakfast will be held for semifinalists and their families. Finalists will be announced in February and will compete for 8,300 scholarships including college-sponsored scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships and the National Merit’s $2,500 scholarships.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Saratoga Falcon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *