Clark Breaks State Record Again with 25 National Merit Semifinalists


Jaiden Reddy

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced this year’s semifinalists in the second round of the National Merit Scholarship. These students qualified as Semifinalists through their performance on the PSAT/NSMQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test) taken in high school students’ junior year. 

Clark High School’s class of 2019 broke the state record again with 25 national merit semifinalists, continuing the three year streak of higher performing students. These students represent less than the one percent of US high school seniors, including the highest scoring entrants of each state. As National Merit Semifinalists, they will find themselves prioritized by a number of different colleges. Some schools, like the University of Florida and University of Alabama, are even willing to give these students full rides!


This year’s National Merit Semifinalist recipients are:

Pablo A. Alarcon

Devika Bararia

Evan Crosby

Brennan P. Ferrington

Jennifer J. Glezen

Ashish Kalakuntla

Shreya S. Kamojjala

James B. Kwok

Dexter Lai

Olivia S. Lee

Julius Z. Lenon

Jessica Li  

Jeffery W. Luo  

Monica Montoya  

Vidhushan Ramakrishnan  

Ryan C. Russell  

Kayla Richelle E. Sangalang  

Ethan A. Seto  

Simran J. Shah  

Aaron Z. Sun  

Vincent B. Tang  

Caitlyn M. Tran  

Katie Y. Wang  

Brandon N. Waters

Eric J. Yuan

These students will now apply to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to advance to the next round. Selection for the National Merit Finalists is even more rigorous; semifinalists are required to perform at the very highest level on the PSAT and complete an intensive application process. Applications must include an academic record (transcript), SAT scores, information about activities and leadership roles, and a personal essay. You also need a teacher recommendation, extracurriculars, and community service.

Make sure to congratulate these students when you see them on campus for this amazing achievement! Each year the cutoff to become one of these semifinalists gets more difficult; the cutoff for this year’s PSAT score is 218, up from 217 for the class of 2018 and up almost 10 points over the last 5 years. It’s amazing that Clark can still manage to boast such a large number of semifinalists!

Good luck to this year’s class of 2020, who will be taking their National Merit-qualifying exam, and good luck continuing the streak of record-breakers!