HomeBlocksFront-GridSeven SMHS Seniors Named Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Seven SMHS Seniors Named Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Seven seniors at San Marino High School were celebrated Monday for being chosen as semifinalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship program.
The program selects 16,000 students to become semifinalists from the more than 1.5 million high school juniors who took the PSAT during the last academic year, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. The semifinalists were announced last week.
San Marino High School seniors Neil Chen, Michael Egan, Esther Lian, Elsa Panning, Lillian Panning, Thailor Villaluna and Arwen Wen have advanced to the next level of the program, where they remain in competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million. Merit Scholar selection is based on student skill, accomplishment and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Factors for consideration include outstanding academic record, endorsement of high school officials, essay and standardized college entrance test scores.
Principal Jason Kurtenbach said, “San Marino High School is proud of the hard work these Titans have been doing their entire school career to prepare themselves to succeed in school and beyond. Each of these students exemplifies what it means to be a Titan: academic excellence, service to others, leadership and integrity.”
Assistant Principal Carlos Kassam-Clay echoed the sentiment: “We have seven amazing students who have qualified for the prestigious national merit scholar program.”
To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official 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, and write an essay.
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. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.
Approximately 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.


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