By Curt Rallo
Penn High School Principal Sean Galiher announced that 15 Penn High School students have been awarded National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist Designation, one of the largest groups ever to achieve the coveted academic status at Penn.
Sakina Al-Fadhl, Ryan Cheng, Tanya Datta, Noah Durand, Hadley Jessop, Eshaal Kizilbash, Gwyneth Lannon, Reagan Ludwig, Derick Shi, Grace Wang, Zichu Wang, Andrew Wolter, Allison Yu, Janet Yu and Madelyn Zavada were named Class of 2023 National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists by the College board.
Additionally, William Chenoweth, Luke Johnson, Amelia Martin, Benjamin Marvin, Jacob Moehn, Samuel Palmer, Rudra Patel, Sydney Szklarek and Elaina Wright have been named commended scholars by the College Board.
“We are extremely proud of these students and their accomplishments,” Galiher said. “This recognition a culmination of the great efforts of these students including all the wonderful teachers they have had while attending P-H-M schools.”
In each annual National Merit Scholarship Program, about 50,000 academically talented high school students are honored, and 16,000 of them are named Semifinalists. Students who qualify as Semifinalists based on their performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) are the only program participants who have an opportunity to advance to the Finalist level and compete for National Merit Scholarships. About 7,250 of the outstanding Finalists will be chosen as Merit Scholarship® winners in the 2023 competition.
All Merit Scholar® designees are chosen based on their abilities, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies—without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, religious preference, or family financial circumstances. Although all students who become Finalists are outstanding, not all Finalists receive a Merit Scholarship award. Of the 15,000 Finalists in the 2023 program, about half will win an award, and no student will receive more than one scholarship offer from NMSC.
Considerations for selection as a National Merit Scholar include the academic record, the school’s recommendation of the Finalist, a student essay, extracurricular activities and scores on the PSAT/NMSQT.