32 seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

September 11, 2013 — by Nick Chow and Karen Sung

Thirty-two seniors gathered in the library research center, called in for a mysterious reason by the guidance department on Wednesday, Sept. 4. However, they soon found out that they weren’t in trouble but instead had qualified as National Merit Semifinalists.

Thirty-two seniors gathered in the library research center, called in for a mysterious reason by the guidance department on Wednesday, Sept. 4. However, they soon found out that they weren’t in trouble but instead had qualified as National Merit Semifinalists.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation names the top PSAT test takers as National Merit Semifinalists; out of over 1.5 million students who took the test, about 15,000 students nationwide are named semifinalists. The 32 seniors are part of a select group of students who scored in the top 1 percent of last October’s PSAT.

“Theoretically, schools our size should have about three National Merit semifinalists,” assistant principal Brian Safine said. “The fact that we have thirty-[two] — ten times what we should be getting — is remarkable.”

After qualifying as semifinalists, the seniors have the opportunity to apply for National Merit finalist status. To do this, semifinalists must submit their transcript, a school administrator recommendation letter, SAT test scores and a personal essay.

A total of 8,300 students will be notified in February of their finalist status. Finalists are eligible for $2500 National Merit scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships and college sponsored scholarships.

The school has had a long history of producing National Merit scholars, and this year proves to be no exception.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of our students and staff and support of the parents,” Safine said. “It continues to amaze me how our students are achieving at such a high level.”

This year’s semifinalists are: Allison Chang, Andrew Chang, Edgar Chen, Jeffrey Y. Chen, Nolan Chen, Tommy Chiou, Nick Chow, Cristina Curcelli, Austin Du, Robert Eng, Sarah Finley, Jeremy Goldman, Alvin Huang, Nina Jayashankar, Priyanka Krishnamurthi, Evan Lee, Lauren M. Lin, Sherry Lin, Justin Liu, Samuel Liu, Akshay Madhani, Sanj Nalwa, Alex Renda, Maya Srinivasan, Derek Sun, Maggie Sun, Karen Sung, Raj Thakker, Nelson Wang, Julianne Wey, Yuen Yang and Solon Zhu.