WARREN, NJ – Eleven students in the Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) Class of 2021 have been named National Merit Semifinalists, according to information released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) of Evanston, Ill.

The WHRHS Semifinalists are: Michael Horzepa, Victor Hu, Elizabeth Huang, Charles Margulies, Nora Mehler, RohilNovani, Paulina Przybylski, Wesleu Tseng, Neha Venkatesh, Valerie Wang, and Tyler Wu.

WHRHS'S 11 National Merit Semifinalists this year are the latest of the 63 WHRHS students who have qualified as National Merit Semifinalists during the most recent seven school years. The year-to-year totals have been: Class of 2015 – 11; Class of 2016 – 6; Class of 2017 –10; Class of 2018 – 15; Class of 2019 – 6; and Class of 2020 – 4, and Class of 2021 – 11.

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16,000 Semifinalists Nationally

As part of NMSC’s annual national announcement, about 16,000 Semifinalists have been named in high schools across the country, and that from that number, about 15,000 are expected to be named National Merit Finalists in February.

Students who qualified as Semifinalists did so by taking the 2019 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in the Fall of 2019. The annual PSAT/NMSQT serves as an initial screeningof program entrants.

“The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state,” the NMSC’s release states. “The number of Semifinalists is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.”

The release continues, “To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide detailed information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay.”

Semifinalists have the potential to compete for National Merit Scholarship awards, corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, and college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.


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Eleven Watchung Hills Students Are National Merit Semifinalists