National Merit
Ten UCS seniors named among the nation’s top one percent of the Class of 2018
Posted on 09/14/2017
Studio shots of each merit finalist

Ten Utica Community Schools students are among only 16,000 U.S. seniors to be named 2018 National Merit semifinalists.

UCS National Merit Semi-finalists are: Daniel Capozello, Praveen Soundararajan, and Annastasia Weiker, of Stevenson High School; Farah Afify and Moira Carrigan, of the Utica Academy for International Studies; Paul Kent and Mary Keta, of Utica High School; and Breanne Baumgartner, Anna Olson and Kaitlyn Proffitt, of Eisenhower High School. Baumgartner, Kent, Keta, Olson, Proffitt, Soundararajan and Weiker also attend the Utica Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology.

“Through hard work and dedication to excellence, these UCS seniors have continued the district’s strong tradition of students earning honors through the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Our entire community is proud that these students are being recognized as among the nation’s best high school seniors.”

More than 1.7 million students of the Class of 2018 entered the National Merit Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of semi-finalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To move from semi-finalist to finalist status, students must submit a detailed scholarship application. The application includes information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership, an essay, record of consistently high academic performance, a recommendation by an official of their high school, and SAT scores that confirm their PSAT/NMSQT performance.

Finalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totaling $33 million next spring.

More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.