School sees increase in number of National Merit semifinalists

September 16, 2008 — by Synthia Ling

This year, 32 seniors qualified as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships, by scoring among the top 1% nationally on the PSAT.

This is one of the largest numbers of semifinalists the school has ever had. Last year, 28 students qualified as semifinalists.

Said assistant principal Brian Safine, “If you look at the fact that Saratoga High has 32 semifinalists. That is close to 10 percent of the graduating class.”

According to Safine, in order to enter the competition, the students had to take the PSAT during their junior year.

Out of the total 1.5 million students who entered in the nation, 50,000 qualified for recommendation. Two-thirds of those students received Letters of Commendation and the remaining third, about 16,000, were named semifinalists. In an addition to the 32 semifinalists, there were 43 seniors at Saratoga High who were commended by scoring in the top 5%.

After becoming semifinalists, there are additional requirements to become a finalist. Students must submit their SAT scores, be recommended by the principal and have an outstanding academic record. They are also required to submit an application along with an essay.

Approximately 94 percent of the semifinalists will move on to become finalists. The students who will receive scholarships are then chosen out of the finalists.

Compared to most schools, Saratoga High has an immense number of semifinalists. “The school has 10 times as many semifinalists than the average American high school,” said Safine.

The semifinalists were notified in early September.

“It feels good to accomplish something like this after so much hard work,” said senior Jason Huang.

Semifinalists in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Competition
Adela Chang, Lisa Chang, Emily Chen, Michael Chen, Elizabeth Cheng, Andrew Francis, Aaron Garg, Jessica Gipe, Jason Huang, Kimberly Hui, Candace Kao, Stacy Ku, Devan Lai, Deborah Lin, Alan Menezes, Aadrita Mukerji, Mridula Nadamuni, Megha Raghavan, Dorey Schranz, Connie Shang, Joseph Smead, Felicia Tang, Rahul Thakker, Timothy Tsai, Andrew Tsao, Tiffany Tseng, Thomas Wang, Joyce Wu, Alina Yang, Jocelyn Ye, Jeffrey Young and Yvette Young