Nineteen seniors at Shaker Heights High School have been named National Merit Commended Students.
The students are among 34,000 in the country recognized for their high scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Though they do not advance in the National Merit program and are not semifinalists, their achievement designates them top college candidates. They are also qualified for certain scholarships from businesses, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
The students who were named National Merit Commended Scholars are Ryan Claus, Jacob Gardner, Nicholas Haubrich, Jordan Isenberg, Gregory Lanese, Kristen Leonard, Megan Mathur, Luke Mesiano, Nicholas Murray, Aaron Rabinowitz, Ari Ross, Rebecca K. Smith, Alexa Steiber, Nathan Steinberg, Evelyn Ting, Ini Umosen, Lauren Vavruska, Lauren Woyczynski and Ann H. Carter.
They join seven seniors who have been named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists.
Anna (Kate) Connors, Claire Crosby, Alexander Friedman, Clara Kao, Matthew Langhinrichs, Daniel Murphy and Isabel Robertson received the designation in this year's 58th annual National Merit Scholarship program, and have an opportunity to compete this spring for one of 8,300 awards.
Each of these students earned a score on the PSAT that was high enough to rank them as a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. To qualify as a semifinalist, a student’s score must be among the highest in the state and the total number of semi-finalists represents less than 1 percent of all high school students in the nation.
The number of semifinalists varies from state to state because the number selected is proportional to the percentage of the total number of graduating seniors in each state. Sixteen thousand students were named semifinalists nationwide.
The seven semifinalist students in Shaker will continue in the competition to become National Merit Scholar finalists by fulfilling several additional requirements in the coming months.
First, they must attain an SAT score that confirms their achievement on the PSAT qualifying test. They must also demonstrate a record of outstanding academic performance throughout high school and be endorsed and recommended by their high school principal.
In addition, the students and school officials must complete a detailed scholarship application that includes a student essay and information about their participation and leadership in school and community-based activities.
Shaker Heights also had three students named National Hispanic Recognition Scholars — Nicholas Murray (also a National Merit Commended Scholar), Juan Schwartzman and Ana Sinicariello. According to a media release from Shaker Heights City Schools, "Each year, the National Hispanic Recognition Program honors nearly 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from the approximately 235,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT."
Solon Patch editor Chris Mazzolini contributed reporting to this article.