EVANSTON, IL - Spotswood High School senior Paige Dadika joined a list of seniors from 53 other Central Jersey high schools when she was named as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist on September 12. Dadika was the only Spotswood High School senior on the list that included semifinalists from other area high schools including South River, East Brunswick, Old Bridge, North Brunswick and Monroe High Schools.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which is based in Evanston, Illinois, announced the names of 16,000 high school seniors across the country last week. The group of semifinalists will now move on to finals and an opportunity to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totaling more than 31 million dollars. Each semifinalist must complete an extensive application process along with his or her high school. The application questions include detailed information about a finalist's academic record, extracurricular and community activities as well as any academic or school honors received along with an employment record and current SAT scores. Finalists must also be endorsed by a high school official and write an essay to accompany the application. He or she must have maintained an exemplary record throughout his or her high school career.

The 16,000 semifinalists were chosen based upon their score on the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Dadika along with the other nationwide semifinalist earned the highest scores in their state and represent less than one percent of high school seniors in the country. About 15,000 of the semifinalists will advance to the final round with the finalists being announced in February. National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the final group of seniors selected this winter. Winners of the 2019 National Merit Scholarships will be named in the spring beginning in April and concluding in July.

In addition to Dadika, other area high school semifinalists include:

  • Sharif Haason - South River High School
  • Ruhi Shah - Old Bridge High School
  • Ashley Chang, Saahithi Dantuluri, Riyann Doshi and Neel Prabhu - Monroe High School
  • Rebecca Aizin, Abhinav Bhamidipati, Dong Gun Cho, Christine Lee, Dahamin Lim, Jessica Ling, Helen Liu, Elliot Rose, Tayana Roychowdhury and Dominik Zajac - East Brunswick High School
  • Surya Anathu - North Brunswick High School