Huntington High School seniors Matthew Gennarelli, Andrew Knowles and Ryan Knowles have been designated National Merit scholarship program semifinalists, placing the trio among a spectacular group of American high school students.
“We are so proud to have these three amazing, high-achieving students move forward in the competition,” Principal Brenden Cusack said. “Each of these young men is very serious about all of the academic aspects of high school and they stand as role models for their peers. I am so grateful for all of their hard work as they represent Huntington High School in the finest fashion. We all have high hopes for them as they enter the next stage of the competition.”
The 63rd annual National Merit competition drew entries from about 1.6 million teenagers from 22,000 high schools. The students “entered the National Merit program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants,” according to the National Merit website. “The nationwide pool of semi-finalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.”
Huntington’s three National Merit scholarship semifinalists have garnered the respect and affection of their classmates and teachers year after year. They are not only among the best academically, they are wonderful young men with upbeat personalities who are also kind and considerate.
“This trio has impressed throughout their years in Huntington,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “As such, their achievement in the National Merit scholarship competition comes as no surprise. Their commitment to their classroom studies, as well as to their extracurricular pursuits, has been remarkable. Their contributions to the school district community have been equally as extraordinary. We share our sincerest congratulations with them and their families.”
The National Merit scholarship program, which dates to 1955, provides recognition and scholarships for top students. About 16,000 seniors advanced to the semifinal round of the competition and another 34,000 students received letters of commendation.
“It’s a great honor to be named a National Merit semifinalist,” Mr. Gennarelli said. “It’s something that I am extremely proud of. I am looking forward to seeing what the next round of the competition brings. I’m especially happy to be able to share this experience with Andrew and Ryan.”
In addition to high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT, competitors must also meet various stringent participation requirements. They are eventually assigned a “selection index” that is based on their critical reading, math and writing skills scores.
“I’m excited to have been named a semifinalist and to be able to represent Huntington,” Andrew Knowles said. “Although I’m not looking forward to an extra application, I do hope that I can make it to finalist status.”
Finalists will be announced in February 2020. There are tens of millions of dollars available for this year’s program, which is financially supported by more than 400 businesses and colleges.
“It's such an honor to be able to represent Huntington at a higher level,” Ryan Knowles said. “I'll keep doing my best to make it to the finals for the school!”