11 WCSD Students Named Semifinalists in 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Victoria Campbell




11 WCSD Students Named Semifinalists in

2019 National Merit Scholarship Program


Reno, NV (Sept. 12, 2018) – Eleven high school students in the Washoe County School District (WCSD) have been named semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among approximately 16,000 scholars nationwide who now have the opportunity to continue in the competition for more than $31 million in college scholarships to be awarded next spring.


“We are tremendously proud of these dedicated students for their hard work and determination,” said WCSD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill. “Eleven of our students have been named semifinalists, and this is a great recognition of their accomplishments so far in their educational journeys. We look forward to hearing more about their achievements as they move forward in their careers.”


The semifinalists from the Washoe County School District are:


• Theodore Bloch, Galena High School

• Nicole Choma, Galena High School

• Matthew Cornell, Incline High School

• Katherine Drinkwater, Galena High School

• Jacob Freed, Robert McQueen High School

• Yun Seung Kim, Reno High School

• Chloe Kinerson, Reno High School

• Paul Larson, Incline High School

• Alexander Mayer, Galena High School

• Kenneth Piccirelli Platt, Edward C. Reed High School

• Daniel Sorensen, Reno High School


These students are among more than 1.6 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools nationwide who entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screening of program entrants. A nationwide pool of semifinalists—representing less than one percent of high school seniors in the United States—includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.


To become a finalist and move forward in the scholarship competition, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Each 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 scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.


Based upon these submissions, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will choose approximately 15,000 finalists who will be named starting in April 2019 and concluding in July. These finalists will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit Scholarships ($2,500), about 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarships, and some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarships.



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