Video: 25 Tempe Union High School Students Named National Merit Semi-Finalists

Video: 25 Tempe Union High School Students Named National Merit Semi-Finalists

Twenty-five academically talented high school seniors in the Tempe Union High School District will compete for the 62nd Annual National Merit Scholarship awards offered next spring.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the pool of Semifinalists, about 16,000 students nationwide, represents less than one percent of United States high school seniors. Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, demonstrated leadership abilities, participation in school and community activities, be recommended by the school principal, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

TUHSD Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Baca said, “We are proud of all of our students who work so hard for this honor. We salute them for their dedication to their education and will continue to do everything we can to support and prepare them for life after high school.”

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists from Tempe Union High School District:

Corona del Sol High School:

  • Ian Bernard
  • Ariz Chang
  • Daniel Farr
  • Lincoln Johnston
  • Alexander Manning
  • Spencer Pote
  • Priya Varra
  • Shreya Varra
  • Sarah Xi
  • David Zhou
  • Jocelyn Zhu

Desert Vista High School:

  • Monica Essig Aberg
  • Aksel Laudon
  • Shae Nicolaisen
  • Vinayak  Parthasarathy
  • Caleb Redshaw
  • Nicholas Thatcher
  • Jessica Wang
  • Qihan Zhu

McClintock High School:

  • Morgan Carpenter
  • Callandra Moore
  • Anna Tesch

Mountain Pointe High School:

  • Katie Dietz
  • Cynthia Liu
  • Quyen Pham

About the National Merit Scholarship Program:
The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®)—which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year—and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.


In early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each Semifinalist. Click here to learn about requirements for becoming a Finalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.)


In February, some 15,000 Semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided with a certificate to present to each Finalist.

Winner Selection

All winners of Merit Scholarship® awards (Merit Scholar® designees) are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. A variety of information is available for NMSC selectors to evaluate: the Finalist’s academic record, information about the school’s curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official’s written recommendation, information about the student’s activities and leadership, and the Finalist’s own essay.

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