HHS Senior Duo Named National Merit Semifinalists

National Merit semifinalists Jacob Strieb and Steve Yeh are flanked by Cathy Croke and Brenden Cusack.

September 14, 2016

Huntington High School has surpassed many Long Island high schools, including several of its neighbors by producing two National Merit scholarship program semifinalists. The designation puts Jacob Strieb and Steve Yeh among an exceptional group of American high school students.

“These two young men are as impressive as they come,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “They are intelligent. They are passionate. They are humble. They are genuine role models who not only have taken complete advantage of, but have also contributed to the range of opportunities that the Huntington School District has to offer. Their accomplishments are too numerous to list, but that list is only the first chapter of what they are sure to achieve in the years to follow.”

The 60th annual National Merit competition drew about 1.6 million teenagers from 22,000 high schools. The students “entered the National Merit program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants,” according to the National Merit website. “The nationwide pool of semi-finalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.”

Huntington seniors Steve Yeh and
Jacob Strieb are National Merit semifinalists.

“We are so proud of Jacob and Steve,” Huntington Principal Brenden Cusack said. “They are such hardworking, enthusiastic and creative individuals who are truly deserving of this honor. I am confident that they can progress into the next stages of the National Merit scholarship program. Each of these young men represent Huntington in the best fashion as they continue to move forward in their studies and bring new ideas to Huntington High School for the betterment of the entire student body.”

The National Merit scholarship program, which dates to 1955, provides recognition and scholarships for top students. About 16,000 seniors advanced to the semifinal round of the competition and another 34,000 students received letters of commendation.

“I’m very proud and lucky to have been selected as a semifinalist and I am also proud of my friend, Steve,” Mr. Strieb said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to earn scholarship money that, if granted, will help me pay my way through college.”

In addition to high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT, competitors must also meet various stringent participation requirements. They are eventually assigned a “selection index” that is based on their critical reading, math and writing skills scores.

“I’m extremely ecstatic and honored to have been named a National Merit semifinalist,” Mr. Yeh said. “I believe there are many of my classmates who also are well qualified, so I am very humbled for having this achievement bestowed upon me. Congratulations to Jacob Strieb for also being named a semifinalist.”

About 90 percent of all semifinalists will be named finalists in February and 7,500 of them will win a National Merit scholarship. There is more than $33 million available for this year’s program. The program is supported financially by 420 businesses and colleges.


Huntington High School senior Steve Yeh.
Huntington senior Jacob Strieb.

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