Thirteen Staples seniors awarded Merit semifinalist status


On Thursday, September 11th, thirteen Staples students received word through email that they are semifinalists in the 60th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation was established in 1955, and is a nonprofit organization run without government assistance. The goal of NMSC is to honor academically talented U.S. students and promote education. Semifinalists earn their position due to their scores on the PSAT, chosen on a state representational basis.

The Staples’ semi-finalists are among 16,100 others nationwide— less than one 1 percent of all high school seniors. If they choose to apply to become a finalist, they will be competing for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships to help pay for their college education.

According to semifinalist Kyle Baer ’15, being a semifinalist is not as special as it seems.

“It just means you scored well on one test (the PSAT). Anyone can have a good/bad day so I don’t think one test is all that telling about someone,” Baer said.

Baer is not interested in becoming a finalist, mainly because you have to take the SAT and he prefers the ACT. Another semifinalist, Emma Lupoff ’15 is in a similar situation.

“I actually can’t become a finalist (I took the ACT), but it’s still exciting to have made it to the finalist standing,” Lupoff said.

Semifinalist Everett Sussman ’15, however, is interested in becoming a finalist. Sussman says he will “have to fill out an application consisting of recommendations and an essay.”

Abby Lustig ’15 is unsure if she will utilize her semifinalist standing and pursue the finalist route.

“It will depend on how much time I have between school work and college applications, but the application seems to be similar to the Common App, and applying can’t hurt.” Lustig said.

The other 9 Staples semifinalists are Jake Atlas ’15, Ian Palmer ’15, Kelly Pogue ’15, Nicholas Massoud ’15, Zachary Effmen ’15, Megan Root ’15, Claudia Landowne ’15, William Vester ’15, and Shelby Cataldo ’15.

In the words of Sussman, “I knew this was something important to work for, and I am so happy for everyone that was chosen!”