National Merit Semifinalists

Three National Merit Scholar Semifinalists at Seaman High School
Posted on 10/30/2023
Each year, the National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes and celebrates the academic achievements of exceptional high school students across the United States. Seaman High School was proud to announce Gavin Dutton, Kate Eckert, and Rosalie Schneider as 2024 National Merit Scholar Semifinalists. Becoming a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist is a testament to their dedication, intelligence, and potential for a promising future.

As you can imagine, there were some pretty excited parents on the day students received their exciting news. “My dad, who was also a National Merit Semifinalist, was actually far more excited than I was,” Kate said. “He said that the fact that he was able to raise a National Merit Scholar means far more to him than getting it ever did. For me, it just means I don’t need to worry about taking out loans for college!”

Rosalie let her parents know at the end of a busy day. “After receiving my letter I wanted to tell my parents but I had a busy evening and didn’t have time to do it in person until late at night,” Rosalie said. “When I told my mom the first thing she said was, ‘Why didn’t you call?!’ I just laughed and told her that I wanted to do it in person. This honor means a lot to me and I’m very proud to represent myself and my school in this way.”

These bright young minds were chosen from a highly competitive pool of students based on their exceptional performance on the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). Being named a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist is a prestigious honor that opens doors to numerous opportunities and is no small feat. Each year, approximately 1.6 million students take the PSAT/NMSQT, but less than 1% of test-takers are named Semifinalists. To qualify, students must excel not only in academics but also in critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management skills, as the PSAT/NMSQT is a rigorous examination that assesses students' abilities in these areas.

Becoming a Semifinalist is the first step in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Semifinalists must meet additional requirements to advance to the Finalist stage. This includes submitting a detailed scholarship application, demonstrating a strong academic record throughout high school, earning SAT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the PSAT/NMSQT, securing a recommendation from a high school official, and writing an essay.

“I am choosing to write my essay on how my mom has influenced my life, She means so much to me and has taught me how to be a better person,” Rosalie said. Kate’s essay topic will focus on the Sunflower State. “I chose to talk about how Kansas has always been a forward-thinking, radical state and, being a red-blooded Kansan, I, too, am going to change the world like all of the Kansans that have come before me.” Kate said. Gavin will write about his most influential teacher in his high school career, Mr. Hebert. “I chose to write about him because he has done so much for me in the short two years I’ve known him, and I want to thank him for that, Gavin said.

National Merit Scholar Semifinalists represent the best and brightest students in the United States, showcasing their intellectual prowess, dedication, and potential for a bright future. The journey through the National Merit Scholarship Program demonstrates their hard work and the support of their families, teachers, and community. These students will continue to inspire us all with their commitment to excellence and their potential for even more success after high school.