Palo Alto students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists | News | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Finalists to be notified in February

More than 80 Palo Alto high school seniors were named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists on Thursday. They are in the running with approximately 16,000 seniors nationwide for about $33 million in scholarship dollars.

The pool of Palo Alto semifinalists includes six students from Castilleja School, 46 from Gunn High School, one from Kehillah Jewish High School and 33 from Palo Alto High School.

These students are competing for 7,600 scholarships that will be offered next spring. They were among the 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools who entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants, a press release reads.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less then 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants from 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 and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist's academic record; participation in school and community activities; demonstrated leadership abilities; employment; and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have established an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm his or her performance on the earlier qualifying test.

Three types of scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2016: $2,500 National Merit Scholarships, of which 2,500 are available; about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships; and about 3,900 college-sponsored scholarships awarded to students planning to attend the sponsor's institution.

For the corporate-sponsored funds, approximately 250 corporations and business organizations will award the money to finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor's employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located, the press release reads.

About 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists will be notified in February that they will advance to the finalist level, the National Merit Scholarship Organization said.

As in past years, the final winners will be announced in four staged press releases starting in April and ending in July.

For more information, go to

Below are lists of the semifinalists from Palo Alto high schools.

Castilleja School

HeeJung W. Chung

Nicole C. Flamen

Elena A. Gadekar

Claire Huang

Tara G. Thakurta

Megan S. Xu

Gunn High School

Peter K. Brownlee

Shawna R. Chen

Audrey C. Cheng

Kiran de Silva

Michael Dresser

Michelle Guo

Kadar He

Jarrod D. Hsu

Lucas Hu

Andrew L. Huang

Arnav Joshi

Lina R. Karamali

Heeyeon C. Kim

Paul S. Kim

Grace Y. Kuffner

Young Hye Lee

Nina J. Leviten

Lisa C. Liao

Rye Ri Lim

Jocelyn Liu

Maya Mahony

Alexander D. Mallery

Erika McPhillips

Maya D. Miklos

Elise S. Most

Nandeeka D. Nayak

Robin Y. Peter

Nicolas P. Poux

Ajay N. Raj

Maya L. Roy

Daniel Rutenburg

Karunya A. Sethuraman

Dongho Shin

Anita P. Silver

Eleanor K. Su

Lydia Y. Sun

Alex F. Tang

Patricia L. Tang

Maya Vishwanath

Neel Vishwanath

Lisa Wang

Maritha A. Wang

Katharine H. Woo

Linda P. Wu

Jonathan Zhang

Vivian Zhou

Kehillah Jewish High School

Mark R. Treitel

Palo Alto High School

Paul N. Bleich

Tiffany X. Cai

Kylie T. Callan

Trevor J. Filseth

Albert S. Ford

Eric M. Foster

Jamie L. Har

Nathan F. Kau

Jesse M. Kim

Misha Lavva

Andrew W. Lee

Ivy Li

Kevin R. Li

Michelle F. Li

Anna J. Lu

Anant V. Marur

Daniel C. Merken

Chloe Mo

Anna H. Nakai

Mikhail E. Nee

Brittany H. Nguyen

Helena C. Oft

Nikhil Rajaram

Kelsey Y. Wang

Melinda Y. Wang

Jenny Xin

Helen A. Yan

William H. Yang

Vineet R.Yellu

Catherine T. Yu

Emily Zhang

Kangrong Zhang

William G. Zhou

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14 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 12, 2015 at 11:12 am

Congratulations, Gunn High 2016!!

You rock!!!

4 people like this
Posted by Julie Armitano
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 14, 2015 at 11:10 am


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:20 pm

[Post removed.]

3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 14, 2015 at 1:29 pm

[Post removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm

[Post removed.]

4 people like this
Posted by @Resident
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Do you have that much of a need to show off your prejudices here?

Be a decent person for once in your life, and offer your sincere congratulations for a job well done.

10 people like this
Posted by Congrats
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 14, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Congratulations to all of the 2016 NMSC Semifinalists!!

Best of luck with your College Applications. I know it can be brutal....hang in there.

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