Eleven seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

Will Portman

By The Scroll staff

Eleven members of the Class of 2010 have been named Semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program.

The Semifinalists are: Xanni Brown, Nick Brown, Kevin Baxter, Jayne Caron, Sebastian Koochaki, Thomas Langlois, Allison Lazarus, Alex Lento, Micaela Mullee, Fletcher Pease, and Will Portman.

“We are incredibly excited about this achievement by our students.  Being a National Merit Semifinalist is a great honor and is a testament to many years of hard work on the part of the students,” said Upper School Head Stephanie Luebbers.

“This is the largest group of Semifinalists in recent memory,” said Director of College Counseling Sarah Beyreis.  “It’s very exciting!”

Indeed, the eleven seniors represent the largest crop of National Merit Semifinalists at CCDS in over a decade.

The Semifinalists were selected based on their outstanding performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which they took last fall.  The top one percent of scorers, out of approximately 1.5 million students who take PSAT/NMSQT, were named semifinalists.

Of the approximately 16,000 students named Semifinalists nationwide, 15,000 will be named National Merit Finalists in February.  In the spring, roughly 8,200 of the 15,000 Finalists will be notified that they have been selected to receive a college scholarship.

Over the next month, “Semifinalists will complete an application much like a college application, with essays and a letter of recommendation from the school and a summary of their activities and awards,” said Mrs. Beyreis.  “They will compete for scholarships that are offered by colleges and businesses and, for the top 2,500 students in the competition, by the National Merit Corporation itself.”

In addition to naming Semifinalists, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announces National Merit Commended Students and will do so later this month.  Commended Students consist of the approximately 34,000 students nationwide who scored in the top 3.3 to 1 percent on the PSAT/NMSQT.  They do not compete for National Merit scholarships.

Mrs. Beyreis projects that 24 percent of the senior class will be National Merit-recognized once Commended Students are named.

Of the eleven Semifinalists, she remarked, “These students have many wonderful talents – they have won national recognition as poets and squash players and chemists and rowers.  But perhaps most importantly, as Xanni Brown noted so delightfully in her Convocation speech, these students are as approachable and ready-to-help as they are accomplished. They dive in, they help others, and our school has been the better for it.”

“It is noteworthy that our list is made up of students who are deeply committed to their academic, artistic, athletic, and service education.   We are proud of their many talents and their vibrant participation in the Country Day community,” said Mrs. Luebbers.