Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Three Columbia High Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

From the South Orange and Maplewood School District Board of Education:

The South Orange and Maplewood School District Board of Education is pleased to announce the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Among the academically talented high school seniors named are three seniors from Columbia High School: Matthew D. Krause, Daniel J. Palumbo, and Julia A. Vitale were named as Semifinalists for the 2021 National Merit® Scholarship Program and have an opportunity to continue to the National Merit Scholarship competition. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

“Amid so much uncertainty and change for our students, this is a wonderful announcement,” said Superintendent of Schools, Ronald G. Taylor. “As a District, we are proud of CHS Seniors, Matthew, Daniel, and Julia for this great accomplishment, we are rooting for them and hope that they will be able to celebrate all of their senior milestones fully this year.”

In April 2020, NMSC identified the 50,000 highest scorers and notified their high schools. Some 16,000 of those high performers were recently designated Semifinalists on a state representational basis. Their schools were notified, and NMSC released their names to news media on September 9. From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February, they will be notified of this designation. All winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

As semifinalists, the three students will have an opportunity to continue in the Merit Scholarship® competition and advance to Finalist standing by meeting some additional requirements. Finalists will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, as well as 1,000 corporate scholarships. The next round will be announced in February.

Columbia High School Principal, Frank Sanchez, shared, “We are so proud that in addition to these three semifinalists, we have a total of 20 National Merit Commended Scholars, representing an incredible senior class. This accomplishment demonstrates years of hard work and dedication by these students and by the mentoring of our faculty at Columbia High School and our colleagues across the district.”

Over 1.5 million students took the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) last October and entered the National Merit Scholarship Program, a nationwide competition for recognition and awards conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

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