National Merit Breakfast congratulates students

National Merit Semifinalists stand together at the National Merit Breakfast on Sept. 9. Top row left to right: Andy Shingle, Vince Dixon, Josh Levine, Daniel Vance, Gabriel Paree-huf. Bottom row left to right: Matt Ridge, Kendall Gardner, Haley Szilagy, Emily Tong, and Chloe Snipes.

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National Merit Semifinalists stand together at the National Merit Breakfast on Sept. 9. Top row left to right: Andy Shingle, Vince Dixon, Josh Levine, Daniel Vance, Gabriel Paree-huf. Bottom row left to right: Matt Ridge, Kendall Gardner, Haley Szilagy, Emily Tong, and Chloe Snipes.

Every junior takes the PSAT as a standard part of the school’s curriculum. However, only the top one percent of students in each state earn the title of “national merit semifinalist”.

“I’ve worked hard over the years, and I feel like it’s paid off. There are books you can get that kind of helps you put more in,” senior Emily Tong said.

Though 1.5 million students take the standardized test, only 16,000 make the cut to be a semifinalist. As part of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the finalists, or top 15,000, are entered in the change to win a variety of scholarships in order to help them pay for college.

In order to earn the title of finalist and compete to win any of the scholarships, students must meet requirements such as being endorsed and recommended by a designated school official, having consistently high grades throughout high school, and taking the SAT.

“We know that success on that test comes from much more than being smart. It comes from a commitment from family, from students, the academic success, and there is nothing more worthy of our celebration than those kinds of achievements,” principal Jason Urban said.

If you’d like to learn more about the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, click here.