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Thirteen Pasadena High Schoolers Announced as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Published on Sunday, September 17, 2023 | 6:16 am

Thirteen high school students from Pasadena have been listed among more than 16,000 semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship results for 2024, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The list was announced on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

The 13 students will now compete for a share of about 7,140 scholarships worth almost $28 million. Winners in the 69th year of this annual competition will be announced nationally between April and July next year. 

“From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation,” the National Merit Scholarship Corporation said. “All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.”

The 13 students from Pasadena schools are: 

Hanzhi Liu from Maranatha High School, 

Ian Timberg from Marshall Fundamental School, 

Teresa C. Carbone and Elias M. Gee from Pasadena High School, 

Sharon Chou, Luke Haenisch, Jeffrey Y. Liu, Brendan Poon and Kaylin Yagura from Polytechnic School; 

and Lauren H. Cho, Anna E. Kleindorfer, Rachel A. Kong and Sofie V. Wong from Westridge School.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation said more than 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the competition by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest-scoring students in each state represent the pool of semifinalists who represent less than 1% of United States high school seniors.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test, the announcement said. 

Students will be notified in February 2024 if they are finalists. About half of the finalists win a scholarship from three categories: National Merit $2500 Scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships, and college-sponsored scholarships.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is a non-profit organization established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The scholarships are underwritten by NMSC’s own funds and by around 320 business organizations and higher education institutions that share the corporation’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence. 

For more information about the National Merit Scholarship program, visit

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