MAHOPAC, N.Y. - A Mahopac High School student has been named a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program competition.

Vincent Vitanza is a senior and member of the school band and orchestra where he plays saxophone, cello, piano, bass, violin, and viola.

He is one of more than 1.5 million students in nearly 21,000 high schools to enter the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) qualifying test in the fall of 2018. The pool of approximately 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, included the highest-scoring entrants in each state. Approximately 15,000 semifinalists have met all the requirements to advance to finalist standing in the competition, which is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Sign Up for Mahopac Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Vitanza is now in the running for the prestigious National Merit scholarships, which will be awarded between now and June.

Vitanza said he was shocked to learn that he had made the first cut when he was named as one of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the program last fall.

“There’s only so much preparing you can do for the test,” he said. “I got a good night's sleep and showed up to take the test without really thinking about the possibility that I might be named a semifinalist.”

Mahopac High School science teacher Robert D'Alessandro said Vintanza has been a pleasure to have in class.

“He has demonstrated an ability to evaluate environmental issues and provided scientific solutions for these matters,” he said. “This strength is one of the reasons why he was chosen to be part of the team that represented Mahopac High School at the Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon his freshman year. Vincent was one of the leaders of his team and helped assist them to a second-place finish for Putnam County.”

In addition to being named a National Merit finalist, Vitanza is on the varsity tennis team, and an active member of both the National and Spanish Honor Societies and is secretary of the Science National Society. He is also the president of the Teen Leaders Group at YMCA Camp in Putnam Valley, which focuses on volunteer service, team building, and leadership exercises.

Vitanza plans to attend Fordham University and major in environmental science.

Article courtesy of the Mahopac School District