Thirty-four members of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District’s senior class qualified as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Only the top 1 percent of applicants in the nation receives National Merit finalist recognition. Each year, approximately 1.5 million entrants participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in a program co-sponsored by the College Board. The standardized test measures critical reading, math problem solving and writing skills.
The semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for nearly 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million, awarded next spring.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. Approximately 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
The semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s essay and information on the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities. 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.
Semifinalists from Los Altos High School are Mya Ballin, Saleil Bhat, Rewa Bush, Jessica Cheng, Marissa Childs, Anny Dow, Kevin Friend, Vivian Hua, Audun Johnson, Tomer Kaftan, Stephen Lai, Adron Mason, Matthew Orton, Nikita Rajan and Rowan Zellers.
Semifinalists from Mountain View High School are John Byrom, Catherine Chen, Bryan Daetz, Austin Evans, Anna Garachtchenko, Sophie Ho, Laura Hofen, Reyna Hulett, Joseph Kim, Max McCarthy, Jared Molas, Nikhil Nag, Ruchita Pendse, Dahlia Perry, Alexander Runke, Kevin Staatz, Francis Sullivan, Charlotte Swasey and Sarah Wells.
“This group of remarkable seniors at Los Altos High School certainly deserve recognition for outstanding performance on last year’s PSAT,” said Maryann Smetzer, Los Altos High counselor. “We are pleased to announce their achievements and look forward to formally honoring them at our Senior Awards Night in May.”
Mountain View High counselor Marti McGuirk said the school community is “extraordinarily proud of our National Merit Semifinalists for their great achievement” and looks forward to supporting them as they move on in the process.