27 National Merit Scholar Semifinalists Named For 2017

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Twenty-seven Great Neck Public School students were named semifinalists in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Of the approximately 16,000 students chosen nationwide, 21 are from Great Neck South High School and six are from Great Neck North.

The semifinalists from William A. Shine Great Neck South High School are Ajay Dheeraj, Lucia Geng, Noah Harouche, Yiqing He, Lynn Hlaing, Kevin Ho, Joo Eun Kang, Matthew Ko, Sungmin Ko, XiaoLing Li, Maximilian Manicone, Benjamin Newman, Justin Ning, Joshua Putter, Lauren Reiss, Amanda H. Shen, Melody Yang, Alex W. Yuan, David Yuan, Sean H. Zhang and Aric Zhuang.

John L. Miller Great Neck North High School semifinalists are Nicholas R. Calto, Jonathan Gao, Solly Kasab, Diana D. Kim, Zachary C. Lee and David Liu.

These academically talented high-school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered in the spring. To advance to the finalist level, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screening of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high-school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level and, in February, they will be notified of this designation. Merit Scholars are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

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