National Merit semifinalists announced


Illustration by Alexa Druyanoff

Sandra Koretz

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation named 40 seniors as National Merit semifinalists based on their PSAT scores. In previous years, approximately 20 seniors from the school were selected, making this year’s selection of 40 semifinalists almost double that of previous years.

In addition to having high PSAT scores, semifinalists must be high-achieving and distinguished high school students, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Head of Upper School Beth Slattery attributed the rise in semifinalists to the cutoff score being lowered.

“Testing across the state of California has risen, so the cutoff has gotten higher over the years,” Slattery said. “Part of the reason why we went up this year is because the [testing] bar was lowered this year. Last year’s class need an index score of 222, and this year it was 221. It was the first year that the standard was dropped […] but I am happy for the students that made it.”

Semifinalist Anna Shell ’21 said she was happy the hard work of her fellow semifinalists paid off.

“I’m incredibly honored and super proud of my grade,” Shell said. “We’ve worked hard alongside each other for almost six years now, so it feels great to have our accomplishments recognized.”

The Class of 2021 semifinalists are listed below:

Nicole P. Austen

Lyon U. Chung

Yvette J. Copeland

Ruoshan Dong

Eli Friedman

Amaan I. Furniturewala

Navid Ghodsi

Andrew Gong

Akseli Kangaslahti

Kyle T. Kaufman

Matthew J. Kihiczak

Christopher M. Ladreyt

Angela G. Lee

Austin J. Lee

Christina E. Lee

Matthew C. Lee

Emma R. Limor

Bennett J. Markinson

Ford T. McDill

Samantha M. McLoughlin

Samantha A. Morris

Zane M. Neelin

Allison S. Park

Felicity O. Phelan

Matthew W. Redford

Santiago Salazar

Allegra C. Saltzman

Anna F. Shell

Eunji Shin

Hope M. Shinderman

Brooke A. Stanford

John L. Szijjarto

William K. Tao

Charles H. Thumann

Ryan A. Tsai

Jasmine Wang

Tyler M. Weigand

Benjamin B. Weinberg

Aaron Zhao