MHS has 14 National Merit semifinalists

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MHS learned this week that 14 students have been named National Merit semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

There are fewer than 325 National Merit semifinalists in Wisconsin. Only two high schools -- Madison West and Madison Memorial -- had more semifinalist than MHS. In all, 75 students from the Dane County area are semifinalists this year.

MHS has had more than 80 semifinalists since 2011.

The 14 MHS students are Grace Chen, Mary Donohoe, Blake Gallay, Rachel Huber, Asha Jain, Claire Matsumura, Nitin Somasundaram, Charlotte Sue, Eleanor Taylor, Balaji Veeramani, Derek Waleffe, Alex Warholic, Jack Wilson and Kirstin Yu.

"As part of a large, comprehensive high-performing high school, there is much to celebrate at Middleton High School,'' principal Steve Plank said. "With the start of the school year now in the rear view mirror, we congratulate our 14 National Merit semifinalists. These students are part of an elite group of academics. As MHS continues to strive for excellence in all we do, we pause to celebrate the amazing performance of these dedicated learners. Congratulations to our semifinalists!’’

Approximately 450 MHS students -- more than 220 sophomores and another 224 juniors -- took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) last year. All juniors in the District last year took the ACT. Both are college entrance exams. Only juniors can qualify for National Merit scholarships.

Approximately 1.6 million students took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last year. Less than 1 percent were awarded semifinalist status nationwide.

Ninety percent of semifinalists are expected to become finalists who will be eligible to receive one of about 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million in the spring of 2018.

NMSC is a non-profit organization that operates without government assistance and was established in 1955. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions. This is the 63rd year of the scholarship program.