Sept. 9, 2015
16 HPHS students named National Merit semifinalists


16 Highland Park High School seniors have been named 2016 National Merit semifinalists. The students are among 16,000 academically talented high school seniors who will continue in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's competition for 7,400 scholarships worth $32 million that will be offered in the spring. 
 
"When I reviewed the list of this year's sixteen National Merit semifinalists, I was very excited for them and proud of them," HPHS Principal Walter Kelly said. "These young scholars have each earned the respect of their peers for their academic work and their personal commitments to excellence. To a person, they have contributed to our school within and beyond the classroom."

Students are selected based on performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The semifinalists' scores are among the top 1 percent of high school seniors in the U.S.
  
Highland Park High School's National Merit semifinalists are:
  • Kevin Chen
  • Cole Ellis
  • Adam Gordon
  • Ben Gruber
  • Daniel Huang
  • Paco Lopez
  • Cole Morgan
  • Ethan Mullen
  • Khai-Leif Nguyen-Hille
  • Allison Riffe
  • Garrett Riffe
  • Alexandra Vallera
  • Christopher Walters
  • Jack Weakley
  • Cannon Williams
  • Michael Zhao 
Nationally, approximately 15,000 of the semifinalists are expected to advance to become finalists, and it is from this group that National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
  
Three types of Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in the spring of 2016.  Every finalist will compete for one of the $2,500 National Merit scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.
  
In addition, some 250 corporations and business organizations will underwrite 1,000 scholarships for 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. Also, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,900 Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsoring institutions.

The National Merit Corporation will announce scholarship winners for 2016 in four news releases, beginning in April and concluding in July.