Watchung Hills Ranks No. 1 in County and No. 6 in State with Record 15 Semifinalists and 53 Commended 2018 National Merit Scholars


WARREN, NJ - A record 15 Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) students in the Class of 2018 have been named Semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Another 53 WHRHS students have qualified for the honor, “Commended,” the category just before Semifinalists. These designations were made based on the scores of students who took the 2016 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT).

The total of 68 recognized students – combining Semifinalists and Commended students—ranks WHRHS ninth among all high schools in New Jersey, as well as sixth among comprehensive public high schools in the state, and first among all high schools in Somerset County, according to Principal George Alexis.

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"The National Merit results are impressive and provide further evidence that our sustained focus on inquiry and collaboration is advancing learning in our school,” Alexis said. “We are proud of our students and grateful for our teachers' hard work and commitment. The quality of teaching and learning taking place each day is making a difference for our entire school community."

This year’s 15 WHRHS National Merit Semifinalists means that as many as 42 WHRHS students have qualified as National Merit Semifinalists during the most recent four years, including 10 in the Class of 2017, six in the Class of 2016, and 11 in the Class of 2015.

WHRHS Recognized Students

The Class of 2018 National Merit Semifinalists are: Kevin Huang, Calvin Li, Rachel Lu, Emma Marszalek, Carl Peterson, Michael Raman, Lindsey Shi, Jeffrey Stickler, Kevin Tan, Craig Vergilio, Olivia Xu, Helen Yang, Linda Ye, Carrie Zhang, and Cherlin Zhu.

The Class of 2018 Commended students are: KeerthiAdusumilli, Michael Brady, Carson Brooks, Jason Chan, Demetra Chang, Rebecca Chang, Shane Checko, Sean P. Coleman, Vincent Dai, Vamsi Desu, Karen Dong, Michelle Du, Michael Duncan, Michael Erickson, Lindsay Fogel, Ian Glass, Nina Goliyad, Aaron Hao, Sierra Heuvelman, Kartik Hoover, Michael Hopwood, Jack Horan, Ashil Jhaveri, Michael Jiang, Brittany Keller, James Keller, James M. Kennelly IV, NilaKirupaharan, Darren Lei, Alanna Margulies, Ethan Marmolejos, Katherine Morris, William Narayanan, Arthur Paganini, Brady Pilsbury, Daniel Pilsbury, Jared Pincus, Andrew Pluta, Sana Salam, Jarett Schwartz, Deeba Shokrani, Connie Situ, Michael L. Stein, Sophia Su, Sanjay Subramanian, Annika Surapaneni, Michael Tobin, Jennifer Walpow, Ella Walsh, Peter Wu, Michelle Yang, Jason Ye, Zachary Young, and Christopher Yu.

Nationwide about 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists have been named semifinalists 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. 

These students have the opportunity to continue in the PSAT/NMSQT competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered in the spring. Each scholarship is for $2,500.

To advance to Finalist, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements. About 90 percent are expected to advance to Finalist. About half the Finalists win the National Merit Scholarships, along with earning the title, National Merit Scholar.

The test date for PSAT/NMSQT this year for Sophomores and Juniors will be Wednesday, Oct. 11.



WHRHS PHOTOS Class of 2018 National Merit Semifinalists With Principal George Alexis, standing left, are Semifinalists: Standing, from left, Emma Marszalek, Calvin Li, Kevin Tan, Helen Yang, Linda Ye, Carrie Zhang, Lindsey Shi, and Michael Raman; and sitting, from left, Craig Vergilio, Carl Peterson, Jeffrey Stickler, Kevin Huang, Rachel Lu, and Olivia Xu. Unavailable for the photo due to scheduling conflict and photographed separately is Cherlin Zhu. 

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