Seniors receive National Merit Scholar honor


The National Merit Scholar organization recognized students for commended scholars, and one as a finalist. Seniors Bryan Burger, Sachin Dubey, Stephen Kelley, Brayden Napoli, Aidan Schmidt, Tanishka Sheth, and Samantha Sikora are commended scholars, while senior Milena Healy is the finalist.

“It’s an honor to be a finalist because it’s awesome to get recognized for working really hard and earning good scores. I don’t think that standardized tests are the best way to measure students as a whole, and they should definitely have less emphasis in applications, but I’m glad that people who work hard on them get the chance to be recognized for it,” Healy said.

In order to be considered for the scholarship, students must receive a certain score on their PSAT. They first get compared to the scores in the state and then are compared on a national level.

“Usually it’s more difficult to become a scholar in states with bigger populations or higher average scores. People who scored better than the cutoff can then submit an application showing their dedication to education in order to become a finalist,” Healy said.

Preparing for the PSAT went beyond testing. Senior and commended scholar Aidan Schmidt took time outside of school to practice.

“I would always make sure to pay attention and participate when we had the chance to do SAT practice in my English and math classes.  I greatly appreciated the willingness of my teachers to set aside time in order to familiarize us with the question formats and topics, ahead of time.  Aside from this, I did a little bit of online practice on my own,” Schmidt said.

I paid a lot of attention when I took my practice-SATs in previous years, and I found it really helpful to go on the scoring website to look at which problems I had missed and why. I also made sure to look up a list of equations I might need on the math section. Even though I was nervous on the day of the PSAT, I think that calming down and having a positive attitude went a long way,” Healy said.

Students were also recognized as being Illinois State Scholars. The full list of names and details are on the North website.