26 HPHS Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

Twenty-six Highland Park High School seniors were named semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.

It is the second-largest number of National Merit semi-finalists in HPISD history, just one fewer than the all-time high of 27 students in the Class of 2017.

More than 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools from across the country entered into the program by taking the Preliminary SAT in fall of 2018, and only 16,000 of these students qualified as semifinalists. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of high school seniors.

Semi-finalists will continue in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s competition for 7,500 scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

“The 26 students selected as National Merit Semi-Finalists at Highland Park this year is one of the highest numbers of students in school history,” HPHS Principal Walter Kelly said. “This group also represents a much higher percentage than national expectations for a student body. Yet what makes me most proud of these students, is that they have engaged in their schoolwork as well as our community in ways that are broad, diverse and profound. They embody the pursuit of excellence and commitment in so many areas of life, and I am in awe of what each one of them can accomplish moving forward.”

Highland Park High School’s National Merit semifinalists are:

  • Jackson C. Alessio
  • Peter B. Davies
  • Catherine L. Geilich
  • Kenan Gursel
  • Jeffery Jehng
  • Justin Liang
  • Eric A. Martin
  • James J. McGinley
  • Halley C. Ray
  • Sameed Sayeed
  • Marisa A. Tiscareno
  • Jack N. Wheeler
  • Michael W. Zhan
  • Jerry T. Chen
  • Man Hang Feng
  • Benjamin N. Genender
  • Matthew L. Healy
  • Enayat P. Kapadia
  • Lily K. Marchetto
  • Luke F. Martin
  • Deven D. Parmar
  • Katherine G. Reenan
  • Calder C. Sinak
  • Henry H. Wang
  • Angela X. Wu
  • Raymond Zou

Nationally, approximately 15,000 of the semifinalists are expected to advance to become finalists, and it is from this group that National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Three types of Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in the spring of 2019. Every finalist will compete for one of the $2,500 National Merit scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

In addition, approximately 230 corporations and business organizations will underwrite 1,000 scholarships for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. Also, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsoring institutions.

The National Merit Corporation will announce scholarship winners for 2019 in four news releases, beginning in April and concluding in July.

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