HomeSchools & Youth9 SMHS Students Are National Merit Finalists

9 SMHS Students Are National Merit Finalists

Photo courtesy Skyler Pak
New National Merit finalists Connie Tran, Derek Deng, Ethan B. Wang, Alain Phung, Nicole Chen, Andy Sun, Ava Slocum, Brian Chu and Kimia Hassibi are pictured with San Marino High School Principal Issaic Gates.

All nine seniors at San Marino High School who in September were named National Merit semifinalists were informed recently that they are now finalists.
Nicole Chen, Brian Chu, Derek Deng, Kimia Hassibi, Alain Phung, Ava Slocum, Andy Sun, Connie Tran and Ethan Wang were recently invited to the quad by Assistant Principal Soomin Chao and notified of their accomplishment.
The 2020 National Merit Scholarship program is the 65th in the organization’s history. The program selects 16,000 students to become semifinalists from among 1.5 million high school juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools who took the Preliminary SAT during the previous academic year. Approximately 15,000 students nationwide have now advanced to become finalists.
The group represents fewer than 1% of high school seniors in the United States and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. With nine finalists among 259 seniors, SMHS has four times the national average.
Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference, according to the program.
The finalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered later in the school year.
“Being named a National Merit finalist is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what these students have to be proud of,” Chao told The Tribune. “I know all of these students personally and they do so many other things at the school. They are so wonderful, but they are so much more than just this distinction, which they also deserve.”


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