WARREN, NJ – Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) continued its record of exceptional achievement by students in the National Merit Scholarship Program, seeing 10 students in the Class of 2017 named Semifinalists and 36 students as Commended.

"The National Merit results are wonderful achievements for our students and the entire school community,” said WHRHS Principal George Alexis. “With a sustained focus on inquiry and high expectations, we remain committed to helping all students actualize their potential."

Looking back over the previous two years, six WHRHS students earned the Semifinalist recognition in the Class of 2016, and 11 in the Class of 2015. All six Semifinalists in the Class of 2016 went on to be named Finalists, and in 2015 nine of the Semifinalists were subsequently named Finalists.

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This year’s nationwide 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists were named on Wednesday, Sept. 14, by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). The students had achieved the honor based on their scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) taken by 1.6 million juniors last Fall. 

This year’s PSAT/NMSQT will be administered to sophomores and juniors on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

In addition to Semifinalists, National Merit also named 36  students in a category just before semifinalist, recognized as “Commended.” 

The Class of 2017 WHRHS National Merit Semifinalists are: Karthik Irakam, Natalie Kim, Daniel Lee, Jonathan Rich, Caroline Rucker, Michelle Shui, Gavin Van Skiver, Nicole Wang, Jenny Yan, and Joyce Zhou.

Gavin Van Skiver, Jenny Yan, Caroline Rucker, Jonathan Rich, Natalie Kim, Nicole Wang and Karthik Irakam, are all of Warren Township.

Michelle Shui and Joyce Zhou are of Green Brook Township and Daniel Lee is of Watchung.

The Class of 2017 Commended students are: Amrutha Ajjarapu, Alison M. Burman, Emily H. Chen, Sahil N. Deo, Jonathan Dong, Nicole M. Freire, Haley G. Frey, Rachel M. Han, Ang-Ting Ho, Amy X. Holz, Katrina N. Howard, Sonali A. Howe, Tea Kingley, Nicholas Kong, Annabel Kopell, Ryan M. Krakower, Kevin L. Lu, Lindsay C. Muller, Arielle E. Ostry, Vineet A. Parikh, Rachel S. Printz, Mary V. Rall, Thomas C. Ronan, Sarah M. Rosa, Sydney Roth, Rachel P. Sabnani, Joshua N. Schmidt, Kinnary H. Shah, Jeremiah I. Sullivan, Raymond S. Tang, Ethan Tu, Cidney L. Weng, Alexander B. Wu, Emily Yan, Brian H. Zeng, and Andrew H. Zheng.


According to NMSC, about 90 percent of this year’s Semifinalists are expected to be eventually named Finalists. The competition continues for this year’s Semifinalists, with students required to submit a detailed application including academic record, records of school and community activity participation, employment records, lists of other honors and awards won, and indications of leadership skills. They must also take the SAT.

Finalists are vying for about 2,500 National Merit Scholarships, as well as about 1,000 scholarships awarded by businesses and corporations and some 4,000 scholarships from colleges and universities to students attending their colleges and universities.


The six Class of 2016 WHRHS National Merit Semifinalists are:Claire Yuxuan Chen, Kunwoo Park, Emily Kim, Isis Zhang, Eric Zhu and Henry Zhu.



The 11 Class of 2015 WHRHS National Semifinalists are: Gregory Carroll, Karen Chi, Joseph Da, Helen Dai, Chen Ding, Alex Duncan, Andre Gou, Kevin Guo, Stuart Ki, Sharon Liu, and Katie Mathison.