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16 HPHS seniors named National Merit Semifinalist

“We are so proud to see our students accomplishing great things,” Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg said. “To be named a semifinalist in this program is an extraordinary honor. The past dedication and determination of these young men and women led to this significant achievement and we are confident academic success will continue to follow each of them through college.”  

Only about 16,000 students from across the country qualified as semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. Semifinalists will continue in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s competition for 7,250 scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered in the spring. 

Highland Park High School National Merit Semifinalists are:

  • Dalton Burford
  • Elizabeth Chen (not pictured)
  • Sally Dai
  • Kevin Ding
  • John Helton
  • Katherine Ho 
  • Evan Huang
  • Thomas Kerr
  • Jeneta Nwosu
  • Adam Rourke
  • Weitao Shi
  • John True
  • Danielle Weatherwax
  • William Wirskye
  • Michelle Xing
  • Charlotte Zelley

“On behalf of our high school teachers and staff, congratulations to these 16 outstanding academic scholars,” HPHS Principal Jeremy Gilbert said. “We are tremendously proud of each of these students for being named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program. There is no doubt that all of these Scots have dedicated a significant amount of time, energy and effort toward academics throughout their entire high school career in order to achieve this distinction. They are student leaders who truly embody our, 'Enter to learn. Go forth to serve.' school motto."

Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level. Nationally, more than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level, and it is from that group that National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their academic record, accomplishments, extracurricular activities and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Three types of Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every finalist will compete for one of the $2,500 National Merit scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

Approximately 180 corporations and business organizations will underwrite 950 scholarships for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor's employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. Also, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsoring institutions.

Learn more about the National Merit Scholarship Program here.