In the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, Marley Handler `24 was named a National Merit Semifinalist, and Rana Arebi `24 and Gracie Mitchell `24 were named National Merit Commended Students.
“I plan to become an aerospace engineer because I’ve always liked building things since I was kid, and this is something I will include in my college applications and resumes for internships and other programs,” says Handler.
National Merit Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered in the spring. Over 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). To become a finalist, the semifinalist must submit a detailed scholarship application, possess an outstanding academic record throughout high school, and be recommended by a high school official.
“These students have some of the highest test scores in the nation,” said Sarah Beyreis, director of college counseling and external opportunities. “As you could tell from their peers' loud cheering when we announced their names in assembly, we are so proud of their hard work and impressive achievements.”
About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2024 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Arebi and Mitchell placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2024 competition.
“This is definitely an academic honor and something that I will include in my college applications,” says Mitchell. “But there is a lot that has brought us to this point. AP testing has helped a lot and so has test prep through Revolution Prep. And the teachers here [at Country Day] have really helped us prepare in so many ways. We have a solid math track here, and the same with English; both of which help with the analytical skills, test-taking strategies, and knowledge recall that helps with standardized tests like this.”
Additionally, five students were also honored in the National African American Recognition Program: Donovan Gray ’25, Ray Mitchell ’24, Ashley Odom ’25, Imri Young ’25, and Aminata Bah ’24, who was previously honored; and five students were also honored in the National Hispanic Recognition Program: Lucas de Alarcon ’24, Lucia Murdoch ’25, Vic Quintero ’25, Giselle Macias-Jaime ’24, who was previously honored, and Alexander Riemann ’24, who was also previously honored.
According to the College Board website, the National Recognition Programs award academic honors to underrepresented students. Students who take eligible administrations of the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP exams are considered for awards. While this is not a scholarship program, students can include this academic honor in their college and scholarship applications.
"These students are so much more than just their standardized test scores, but these tests do require a specific sort of skill set,” says Jenn Weinheimer, head of Upper School. “These kids aren't only strong students who are pushing boundaries in our most difficult classes and challenging themselves as athletes and citizens; they are also great test-takers. And we're proud of everything they achieve."
For more information, visit the College Board website at https://www.collegeboard.org.
Photo: Top left to right: Gracie Mitchell, Alex Riemann, Donovan Gray, Lucas de Alarcon, Rachel Mitchell, Ami Bah; bottom left to right: Marley Handler, Vic Quintero, Lucia Murdoch, Ashley Odom, Imri Young, Gigi Macais-Jaime, Rana Arebi