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 30 Local Students Receive $2,500 National Merit Scholarship Awards

​The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has announced that this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners include 30 students from San Diego County. The Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official. 

Congratulations to:

  • Aniruddha A. Alawani (Westview High School)
  • Mauricio Baker (Canyon Crest Academy)
  • Jennie J. Cao (Canyon Crest Academy)
  • Cleo E. Chaplin (Francis W. Parker School)
  • Shrea A. Chari (Del Norte High School)
  • Angela J. Chen (Del Norte High School)
  • Michael Y. Chen (Canyon Crest Academy)
  • Sophia W. Chen (Torrey Pines High School)
  • Nicholas Chin (Westview High School)
  • Joydeep Dutta (Scripps Ranch High School)
  • Zackery P. Edwards (San Dieguito Academy)
  • Clara Guo (Canyon Crest Academy)
  • Michelle J. He (Scripps Ranch High School)
  • Si Young Kim (La Jolla high School)
  • Ashwin Kumar (Scripps Ranch High School)
  • Shubham Kumar (Rancho Bernardo High School)
  • Annie S. Lu (Canyon Crest Academy)
  • Sarah K. Mischel (The Bishops School)
  • Zachary A. Orr (Rancho Bernardo High School)
  • Sanjana Paye (Academy of Our Lady of Peace)
  • Jerry R. Qu (The Bishop's School)
  • Ronak Roy (Canyon Crest Academy)
  • Rachel Schlusselberg (Westview High School)
  • Cate B. Schroeder (La Jolla High School)
  • Dominic F. Sprigg (Cathedral Catholic High School)
  • Alexander P. Tchang (Francis W. Parker School)
  • Ryan K. Wei (Del Norte High School)
  • Amelia Y. Whitworth (Pacific Ridge School)
  • Jinshi Zheng (Canyon Crest Academy)
  • Natalia C. Zorrilla (Canyon Crest Academy)

NMSC finances most of these single-payment National Merit $2500 Scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

2019 National Merit Scholarship Competition

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2017 when more than 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis.

Only these 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition. From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the 2019 program, about 7,600 finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received more than $31 million in college scholarships.

NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of scholarships offered each year are underwritten by approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors that share NMSC’s goals of honoring scholastically talented youth and encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education.