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District Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) released the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The Iowa City Community School District is proud to announce that 25 District students have been included in this honor. West High leads the state again with 21 students named as 2019 Semifinalists, and City High boasts 4 Semifinalists.

The following City High seniors have been designated as Semifinalists:

Jack Bacon
Quinn Kopelman
Lillian Prybil
Liza Sarsfield

The following West High seniors have been designated as Semifinalists:

Jillian Baker
Carson Baldes
Zachary Chackalackal
Ethan Chen
Sophia Chen
William Conrad
Rachel Ding
Robbie Frerichs
Emma Gehlbach
Lydia Guo
Deniz Ince
Crystal Kim
George Liu
Lily Ming
Yangtian Shangguan
Daniel Stewart
Hang Sun
Grace Wang
Steven Yuan
Jenna Zeng
Charles Zheng

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 Merit Scholarship awards, worth $31 million, that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements and advance to the Finalist level of the competition.

More than 1.6 million juniors in about 22,000 U.S. high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of US high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, a Semifinalist must have an academic record of very high performance, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier qualifying test performance. The Semifinalist and his/her counselor must submit a detailed application, which includes information about the student’s participation and leadership in school and community activities, employment, and honors and awards received.

Approximately 15,000 of the Semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and it is from this group that all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit 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 2019 National Merit Scholarship winners of will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 338,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

About the National Merit Scholarship Program
The National Merit Scholarship Program is conducted by the NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC and by approximately 410 business organizations and higher education institutions that share the goals of honoring scholastic achievement and encouraging academic excellence.. More information available at 

City High Semifinalists
City High School National Merit Semifinalists
Pictured (left to right): Liza Sarsfield, Lillian Prybil, Quinn Kopelman, and Jack Bacon

West High Semifinalists
West High School National Merit Semifinalists
Pictured: Front row (seated left to right): Grace Wang, Jillian Baker, Lily Meng, Daniel Stewart, William Conrad, Rachel Ding
Middle row: Jenna Zeng, Emma Gehlbach, Crystal Kim, Lydia Guo, Sophia Chen, Yangtian Shangguan, Charles Zheng
Back row: Robbie Frerichs, Deniz Ince, Hang Sun, George Liu, Zachary Chackalackal, Ethan Chen, Carson Baldes, Steven Yuan