14 HHS Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

On September 9th, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation released the names of approximately 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists to news media. The following day, fourteen Hanover High students were informed of their status as Semifinalists:


Julia Cook

James Eiler

Derek Lacy

Rose Luttmer

Thomas Lyons

Sage McGinley-Smith

Momoka Schmidt

Max Solberg

Nathan Subrahmanian

Jasmine Tracy

Sophie Usherwood

Miriam Viazmenski

Charles Wheelan

Lara Witwick


Students were selected to continue in the competition based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT®, a test administered in October of 2019 to over 1.5 million juniors nationwide. The number of Semifinalists from each state is proportional to the state’s number of graduating seniors, and the qualifying score for Semifinalist status varies from state to state. This year, all 50 states saw a decrease in the cutoff, with the Commended cutoff falling from 212 in 2020 to 209 in 2021. 


For students who were selected as Semifinalists, becoming a Merit Scholar is far from a sure thing. While approximately ninety percent of Semifinalists will go on to become Finalists after submitting their transcript, their high school’s endorsement, and a list of awards and extracurricular activities, only half of these Finalists will be selected to receive a Merit Scholarship® Award. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s website, scholarship recipients are chosen “based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.” Finalists will be notified in February and scholarship winners will be contacted from March to mid-June with details regarding their award.


This year’s PSAT/NMSQT® will take place on Wednesday, October 14. According to Friday’s Schoology update, “sign-ups for the PSAT will begin on Thursday[,] September 24 for juniors and Thursday[,] October 1 for sophomores.  The deadline to sign up for all students is Thursday[,] October 8. To sign up, students should bring a check for $20 made payable to Hanover High School to the Counseling Office.” For sophomore and juniors planning to take this year’s exam, make sure to get a good night’s rest, drink lots of water, and eat protein, complex carbohydrates, and Omega-3s for breakfast. Most importantly, remember that the PSAT is just one test and that a score, high or low, does not “prove” anything about a person’s intelligence, or their ability to work hard and do amazing things.





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