Seven Byram Hills Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

By Raquel Kanner

In October of last year, all students across the country, in the midst of junior year, had the opportunity to take the PSAT– Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This examination tests all areas of academics, ranging from mathematics to English. In September of this year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) released the scores and revealed the top 1 percent of scores in the nation; those students are classified as National Merit Semifinalists. The NMSC mentioned that “the mission of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States. NMSC accomplishes its mission by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs.”

Out of 1.6 million students nationwide who enroll for the PSAT, only 16,000 students are named as National Merit Semifinalists. At Byram Hills, seven seniors were recently named as Semifinalists: Alan Chang, Joshua Freedman, Elyse Kanner, Emma Lucchino, David McDaniels, Jonah Schwam and Nicole Tissot.

One semifinalist, Jonah Schwam, notes that “it’s very flattering to have become a national merit semifinalist, but our school’s success with the PSAT is a real credit to our teachers and the outstanding preparation they provide their students for excellence across all core academic fields.” Agreeing with this is semifinalist Elyse Kanner, explains, “Our national merit semifinalist status is really a testament to how amazing our teachers are in teaching us and helping us reach our potential.” Another semifinalist, Alan Chang, says that “it was truly a humbling honor to be recognized alongside not only fellow classmates but thousands of other gifted students nationwide.” Although honored to achieve this success, these students accredit this accomplishment to their learning at Byram Hills.

Later this year, more than 90 percent of the semifinalists will receive a finalist position. Half of these finalists will receive a scholarship and be honored as a Merit Scholar; hopefully, it will be one our very own Byram students! Congratulations!