29 students from Hoover named National Merit semifinalists

[Hoover Sun] 29 students from Hoover named National Merit semifinalists

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Top row, from left: Daniel Zhao, the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Photo courtesy of Alabama School of Fine Arts; Sam Olsen of Briarwood Christian High School. Photo courtesy of Briarwood Christian High School; Vickie Kim, Indian Springs School.Second row, from left: Manu Nakano, Yuji Nakano and Nour Shoreibah, Indian Springs School. Photos courtesy of Indian Springs School

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Photos courtesy of Hoover City Schools.

Spain Park semifinalists.

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Photos courtesy of Hoover City Schools.

Hoover High School semifinalists.

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At least 29 students from Hoover have been named National Merit semifinalists this year, including 18 from Hoover High, five from Spain Park, four from Indian Springs School, one from Briarwood Christian School and one from the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

They are among 16,000 semifinalists named by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. this year, meaning they are in the top 1% of high school students nationally and now will compete to become finalists and then National Merit Scholars.

This year’s semifinalists from Hoover High are Christos Argyropoulos, Jari Chen, Lukas Fu, Kashvi Gaddam, Lauren Geisler, Thomas Gullahorn, Dylan Haigler, Thomas Hao, Matthew Harden, William Hertz, Eshika Kudaravalli, Dominic Renda, Hannah Reynolds, Midhun Sadanand, Matthew Shen, Jacob Upton, Rati Venkatesan and Liz Wang.

The Spain Park National Merit semifinalists this year are David Collins, Zachary Lin, Benjamin Roberts, Fiona Selle and Nicholas Stefanov. Semifinalists from Indian Springs School who live in Hoover are Vickie Kim, Mayu Nakano, Yuji Nakano and Nour Shoreibah. Sam Olsen is the semifinalist from Briarwood, and Daniel Zhao is the semifinalist from the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

The semifinalists were chosen based on their performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which was given to the students during their sophomore or junior year.

The semifinalists represent the highest-scoring performers in each state, with the number of semifinalists from each state based on the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. said that about 95% of the semifinalists are expected to earn finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win one of about 7,250 National Merit Scholarships to be given out next year. Winners will be announced in groups from April through July, with a total of $30 million being awarded.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must fill out a detailed application, sharing information about the student’s academic record, school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards.

Finalists also must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is underwritten by about 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share the goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Spain Park Principal Amanda Esslinger echoed Montgomery’s sentiment. “This achievement highlights their hard work throughout their educational careers,” Esslinger said. “I am looking forward to watching them continue to grow and succeed in the future.”

Separate from the scholarship program, the nonprofit also recognizes students from various minority groups for significant achievement on the PSAT and/or Advanced Placement tests.

Five students from Hoover High (Gabrielle Boyd, Alyson Goodwin, Anthony Hill, Mekayla Mcneil and Phanuelle Manuel) and one from Briarwood (Drew Woodruff) were chosen for the National African American Recognition Program or National Hispanic Recognition Award this year.

Source: Hoover Sun