WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield Public Schools announced this week that seven Westfield High School seniors have been named semi-finalists in the National Merit Scholarship program: Rachel Holtzman, Jill Rosenfeld, Yixue “Lily” Wang, Alexander Beals, Mark Gillespie, Kristin Hauge and Alex Mossawir.

Principal Peter Renwick congratulated the students, saying that their performance “speaks volumes about their abilities and commitment to their education.”

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the nationwide pool of semi-finalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semi-finalists will have an opportunity to continue in the competition to become a finalist for 2014 Merit Scholarship awards, which will be given in the spring. 

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In addition, 20 WHS seniors have been named Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. These students placed among the top 2.3 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in critical reading, math and writing skills.

The Commended Students from WHS are Nicolas Carayannopoulos, Abigail Cook, Jennifer DeCandia, Alexa Derman, Nicole Devitt, Benjamin Eisenberg, Rachel Fan, Shea Fitzpatrick, Edwin Gee, David Gruskin, Sara Hoerrner, Michelle Kim, Caroline King, Lucia Liu, Matthew Luppino, Stephanie Milan, Lauren Schmeider, Samuel Sokolin, Dara Tucker and Jingyan ”Cindy” Xiao.

A letter from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to Renwick stated, “The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success. These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”