Eighteen Middleton High School Students who were National Merit Scholarship semifinalists are pictured with the word Congratulations over top of their pictures.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - 7:16 am

MHS learned this week that 18 students, the most of any high school in Wisconsin, have been named National Merit semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

There are a little more than 300 National Merit semifinalists in Wisconsin. In all, 77 students from the Dane County area are semifinalists this year. There were approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide.

The 18 MHS students are Ian Bohachek, Sam Burkard, Ivan Cermak, Jeremy Cho, Sam Eggert, Emery Engling, Rose Giefer, Jonah Guse, Michael Gustafson, Yale Huang, Gene Kim, Elinor Kosek, Zinnia Nie, Akshita Pattnaik, Mia Thompson, Luke Whittingham, Althea Wincek and Zachary Yosick.

"As part of a large, comprehensive high-performing high school, there is much to celebrate at Middleton High School,'' principal Peg Shoemaker said. "We congratulate our 18 National Merit semifinalists. These students are part of an elite academic group. As MHS continues to strive for excellence in all we do, we pause to celebrate the amazing performance of these dedicated learners.’’

Another 12 MHS students -- Kevin Chang, Trevor Chau, Ava Clark, Yousef Gadalla, Faranak Hematti, Bennett Howardsmith, Ella Hursch, Lauren Poehling, Elizabeth Schink, Sophie Taylor, Nicole Yu and Julia Zhang -- received a letter of commendation. Commended students placed among the top 50,000 scorers. 

Nearly 440 MHS sophomores and juniors took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) last year. All juniors in the District last year took the ACT. Both are college entrance exams. Only juniors can qualify for National Merit scholarships.

Approximately 1.5 million students took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last year. Less than 1 percent were awarded semifinalist status nationwide.

Ninety percent of semifinalists are expected to become finalists who will be eligible to receive one of about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million in the spring of 2021.

NMSC is a non-profit organization that operates without government assistance and was established in 1955. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions. This is the 66th year of the scholarship program.