The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

14 MSMS students selected as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Caleb Youngblood
Pictured from left to right are (top row) seniors Jacob Neal and Gabriel Pettit; (third row) Junran Zhou, Julian Gallo, Ethan Liao, Dorothy Virges and Jackson Williams; (second row) Noah Lee and Ean Choi; (first row) Mary Dang, Heaven Alvarado, Iris Xue, Landon Tu and Sebastian Harvey. The 14 seniors were recently named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists for their 2022 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test scores.

Fourteen MSMS seniors — Heaven Alvarado, Ean Choi, Mary Ann Dang, Julian Gallo, Sebastian Harvey, Noah Lee, Ethan Liao, Jacob Neal, Gabriel Pettit, Landon Tu, Dorothy Virges, Jackson Williams, Iris Xue and Junran Zhou — were recently named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists for their scores on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test taken last year. 

This nationwide standardized test focuses on mathematics, writing and reading and is taken annually by juniors. This scholarship program helps students with college applications and rewards them for their academic achievements.

College Board released the results of the PSAT in December, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation finalized its selections for the semifinalists in September. NMSC uses index scores to determine high-scoring participants who qualify for program recognition. 

“I think having 14 [semifinalists] this year is an amazing accomplishment for the class. It shows they represent our student body in a fabulous way,” said counselor Shelle Bates.

NMSC will select National Merit finalists from those semifinalists who displayed leadership and provided contributions to their school and community in addition to their academic record, recommendations and essays.

Many semifinalists said they were happy about the designation because of the opportunities it could provide beyond high school. 

“My family doesn’t have a lot of money to support me through my education, so if I didn’t get any other scholarships, this would get me through all of university,” Zhou said.

“[Becoming a finalist would] open up my horizons and let me have some breathing room during a stressful college season,” Choi added. “The couple schools I was looking at — UT-Dallas and University of Alabama — are guaranteed schools that would give me a lot of money and [provide] great opportunities for me.”

Students may be pressured to get an outstanding score for the PSAT. Many opportunities can be gained, but the PSAT score is not a factor preventing a student from graduating or doing well in their future. Interim Executive Director Ginger Tedder said she hopes the juniors don’t stress about the test and have a great experience.

“I know [the juniors] are going to do well regardless,” Tedder said. “I have no doubt [they’re] here at MSMS for a reason. “If [students do their best], then [their] best is good enough.”

Many seniors, including Jules Gallo, said stressing over the exam would not be worth it.

Either commit to putting in the effort to [become a finalist] or don’t bother worrying,” Gallo said. “If you struggle with tests and think the amount of time spent will not be worth it, go in and have fun with it.”

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