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National Merit Semifinalists at High School West

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Congratulations to all of the Half Hollow Hills students that were named 2021 National Merit Semifinalists! We had 16 students from our district chosen, three of which are from High School West. Their names are Jason Bruckner, Simran Chaudhry, and Kyra Ramonetti.

 The National Merit Scholarship Program is a prestigious academic competition that runs throughout the United States. Each year, approximately 1.5 million students enter this program to potentially win $2,500 that goes towards their freshman year of college tuition. According to Kyra Ramonetti, some colleges have sent emails and letters to her, offering scholarships to students that are semifinalists. High school students enter this competition by taking the PSAT in their junior year. They can study for it by using the same methods they would study for the SAT. Practice tests, comprehensive math instruction, and English review would greatly help your score.

In September of 2020, our school was notified that these three brilliant students, out of 50,000 nationwide, were chosen to be semifinalists. According to Simran Chaudhry, she “was not expecting it at all!” She was thrilled to hear her name get called down to the principal’s office and she was very happy for herself and her peers. Kyra expressed that she was unsure of the outcome after taking the test, but “wasn’t entirely surprised either” at the results. The next goal for these students is to be named one of the 15,000 finalists in February 2021. The winners of this award are chosen by their abilities, skills, and previous accomplishments. They will potentially receive a Certificate of Merit which they would receive as finalists.  

In an interview with Simran, I asked how this award could benefit her in the future. She replied, “…being a National Merit Semifinalist and a potential finalist is a really good academic achievement to have under your belt…” She also said it has helped in applying to colleges and elevating her resume. 

Simran is planning to study both English and Science in college. She is leaning towards the premed field while including creative writing and language arts. While most people have a stronger subject, usually either Math or English on the SAT, Simran has equal strength in both subjects. This has helped her get a better score as she is interested in what the SAT teaches.

Congratulations again to our semifinalists. We hope to see you at the finalist stage soon!