Jacob Strieb and Steve Yeh have been named National Merit Finalists, elevating the Huntington High School duo into the lofty ranks of an elite circle of United States seniors.
The teenagers are among a select group of 15,000 academically high powered American seniors. The two Huntington finalists were each presented with a certificate by high school Principal Brenden Cusack on behalf of the National Merit scholarship program. Beginning in April and concluding in July, about 7,500 finalists will be notified they have won a scholarship award.
“We are all very proud of Jacob and Steve,” Mr. Cusack said. “Their efforts here at Huntington High School continue to be an inspiration and a model for others to follow. I am very hopeful for them as they move into the final stages of the National Merit scholarship selection process. I wish them both the best of luck as they go forward!”
Financial awards include $2,500 National Merit scholarships; corporate sponsored scholarships; college sponsored scholarships. The program is supported by 420 independent sponsors and the National Merit Scholarship Corp.’s own monies. About $33 million is available this year.
“All National Merit scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists,” according to the organization. “Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.”
The National Merit scholarship program, which dates to 1955, provides recognition and scholarships for top students. About 16,000 seniors advanced to the semi-final round of the competition and another 34,000 students received letters of commendation.
“I was extremely happy and honored to hear that I was named a finalist,” Mr. Yeh said. “I am more so excited that my friend Jacob is also a finalist. My congratulations to him!”
The 62nd annual National Merit competition drew more than 1.6 million teenagers from 22,000 high schools. The students “entered the 2017 National Merit program by taking the 2015 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.”
In addition to high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT, National Merit scholarship 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.