National Merit semifinalists chosen
National Merit semifinalists have been released and five students here have been chosen: seniors Amanda Bosson, Rachelle Cates, Forrest Cooke, Nancy Nguyen, and Logan White.
“Last year was the first year that I can remember that we had no finalists or semifinalists, but usually we have about four or five, which is pretty amazing when you think that they are ranked in the top 1 percent of the nation,” PSAT coach Karen Cooke said.
There is a huge benefit in the long-term if a student is awarded a finalist or semifinalist spot.
“Your parents probably throw you a party because it opens all kinds of scholarship opportunities,” Karen Cooke said. “It’s not every university that does it, but there are many, many universities that do it, and those that don’t give you a free ride are usually ones that will give you significant scholarship.”
While the semifinalists’ scores are the top 1 percent in the nation, the top 2 percent of scores are the commended scholars. There are five this year from here: seniors Zachary Coomes, Victoria Hamill, Madison Koen, Lauren Smith, and Steven Youngblood. Youngblood has also been named a National Achievement semifinalist.
The school has two National Hispanic Scholars as well, seniors Katrina Alonzo and Jessica Loza.
Although a student is named a semifinalist, they must apply to become a finalist.
“The way that you get form a semifinalist to a finalist is you have to fill out an application, and it requires you to submit your transcript, and your extra-curricular activities,” Cooke said. “You have to write an essay, and you have to have a recommendation from the school.”
Finalists are typically chosen based on how well-rounded the student is, and who would be a good representation of the school. The students who are recognized in the National Merit program are self-motivated and work hard in school.
“My parents love me so much because my brother was one of the people that had to be bribed to get good grades, and I always got straight A’s,” Alonzo said.
Alonzo was a part of the PSAT team, and said she received a lot of help from teachers. The PSAT program is also useful to students because it helps them to do well on the test, which can lead to scholarships later in life.
“If they hadn’t had this program they probably would not have been able to afford college, so I’m really pleased to know that I was part of helping them further their lives,” Cooke said.