The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently recognized Shannon Cucchiaro, Steven Jin, Daniel Niezelski, and Alex Wu as National Merit Semifinalists. This is a huge accomplishment for these students, who placed in the top one percent in the nation.
“I was very proud to be recognized for my academic achievement,” Shannon Cucchiaro said.
The administrative team praised those honored for this great accomplishment.
“I’m very proud of them,” said Principal Dr. Joelle Miller. “The kids work hard here, and they should be recognized for their hard work, so it was great for the four students.”
“I’m very excited for them,” added Assistant Principal Ms. Karen Mason. “I think it’s wonderful that we have kids who will spotlight Mt. Hebron across the nation. They have done such a wonderful job here and have tried their best. They will go up there and prove to the world that they can do what they want to do.”
The teachers here at Mt. Hebron also think highly of the four recognized students.
“I think it’s a good reflection upon the school. It shows that the students are provided a good education, and it also shows that these students are working hard when they’re owning it outside of the classroom and while in school,” said Media Specialist Mr. Scott Robinson.
In addition to the four students recognized as semifinalists, 20 other Mt. Hebron students were also recognized by the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program and commended for their high scores on the PSAT.
“We had a large number of kids receive commendable recognition, which is unreal,” Dr. Miller said. “We are all about celebrating the kids’ accomplishments here at Hebron. There are 1588 kids, and there are amazing things that go on here. It’s all about celebrating the kids here, and they did an incredible job.”
Teachers and administration suggest that students eat a healthy breakfast and get a good night’s rest before the test. Niezelski also completed “lots of practice tests,” he said, to prepare for the PSAT.
Since its founding in 1955, the NMSC has recognized over 3 million students and provided more than 414,000 scholarships worth over 1.6 billion dollars. Students who meet the requirements enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test.
The PSAT/NMSQT test is mandatory for students who spent four years in high school before entering college. This year, about 300 students in Maryland qualified as National Merit Semifinalists by achieving high scores on their PSAT.
After being recognized as a semifinalist, there are more steps to becoming a finalist. Semifinalists must submit high school transcripts, SAT scores, a personal essay and recommendations from a principal or school official. The NMSC reviews these materials, looking for strong grades and high test scores.
In February, 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists are named as finalists and are eligible for a $2,500-a-year scholarship. Approximately half of the total semifinalists will earn the National Merit Scholarship, which is worth $32 million. Around 190 universities and colleges will finance these scholarships to pay for about 4,000 awards to give to Finalists.