NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Four New Rochelle High School seniors have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, which honors top academic achievement.
Eliza Crocker, Josh Glickman, and two brothers - Adam Jones and Eddie Jones - were among approximately 16,000 students across the country named in the 64th annual competition. The semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of the high school seniors across the country.
"It's a big accomplishment for me," said Crocker, who plans to study math in college. She's captain of the school's Mathletes team and the school chapter president of Junior State of America. "I've always worked hard in school and I've always been a good test taker but I never imagined something to this extent. I'm in good company," she said about her fellow classmates.
"These four students are to be commended for this outstanding achievement," said Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi. "We are so proud of their hard work and dedication."
With the designation, the high-achieving seniors may continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.
"I am definitely honored to receive this distinction," Glickman said. "It's a great feeling to be rewarded for working hard. I definitely have, so it's a good feeling." He is an Ignite mentor and member of the Engineering Club. He also is an intern for Stand With Us, an international organization that educates about the Middle East.
The honor also adds another accolade they can include on college applications and resumes. To reach the semifinalist level, the students joined about 1.6 million other juniors in more than 22,000 high schools who took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest scoring entrants in each state became the semifinalists.
"When I was told we had both gotten this award I was very, very surprised," said Adam Jones about both his and his brother's accomplishments of becoming National Merit Semifinalists. Adam is planning to study cartooning. "How is it possible for the two of us brothers out of four students total? But, it makes sense. We always do things together."
"I didn't think it would be me (getting named a National Merit Semifinalist)," said Eddie Jones, who hasn't determined a major but is considering education. "When I think of big awards, I never thought I'd be the one to get them. I'm amazed beyond my expectations. I am happy and grateful for the opportunity."
Most of the semifinalists - about 15,000 - are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of those young scholars will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
To become finalists, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements. The student and the school must submit a detailed scholarship application showing the semifinalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring. The finalists will compete for 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, which are awarded on a state-representational basis.
About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations. Also, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards to entice finalists to attend their schools.