National Merit Semifinalists/Commended Students

Eleven Fox Chapel Area High School seniors have been designated as National Merit Semifinalists and 15 have been named Commended Students in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). The Semifinalists from Fox Chapel Area High School are Justin Breen, Arnav Gupta, Theresa Heidenreich, Rachel Himmel, Elizabeth Kaslewicz, Zachary Lakkis, Mitchell Miles, Annika Urban, Gina Wang, Landon Williams, and Ziya Xu. The Commended Students from Fox Chapel Area High School are Vaishavi Agrawal, Abigail Baldauf, Benjamin Cagan, Steven Cano, Kristen Friday, Marissa Hardiman, Sanjana Harish, Cara Himmel, Jayanth Kashyap, Trevor Klatt, Eric Moore, Jared Nord, Robert Shymansky, Benjamin Weiss, and Chloe Yofan.

All of these students were selected based on their 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) scores. Each year college-bound 11th grade students complete the PSAT/NMSQT. About 1.6 million juniors who take the test are automatically enrolled in the National Merit Scholarship Program and approximately 16,000 advance to become Semifinalists and about 34,000 are Commended. The Semifinalists represent less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors and the Commended Students represent the top five percent. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. The Commended Students are recognized for their exceptional academic promise. The Semifinalists now have the opportunity to advance to the Finalist level and compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarship® awards worth more than $32 million to be offered in the spring of 2019.

The NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.