Santa Fe snags four National Merit semifinalists


Photo provided

Left to right: *Nicolas Bost, Gavin Greenwood, *Martin Samwell,*Caleb Haymore,*William Lawrence, Charlize Connor, Zachary Hall, Principal Hayes. *Semifinalist

Ethan Barnes, Santa Fe Staff Writer

National Merit is a nationwide academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Roughly 1.5 million high school students enter every year. This year, the Edmond school district boasted 23 semifinalists, with four from Santa Fe. These four are Caleb Haymore, Martin Samwell, Nicolas Bost and William Lawrence.

To enter, students must take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Each year, the qualifying test is administered to juniors with results issued their senior year.

Being a National Merit Scholar provides countless opportunities due to the scholarships and benefits that come with it. Doors that were shut due to economic disparity or other reasons are now opened and the dream of a higher education becomes reality.

“Becoming a National Merit semifinalist has definitely opened up some doors for me. As far as financially, it has allowed me to consider schools I thought would be too expensive. It is also great to put on resumes while applying to colleges,” Samwell said .

Roughly one third of the top 50,000 PSAT/NMSQT test takers qualify to be semifinalists. That means there are roughly 16,000 people named semifinalists each year. Beginning as freshmen, many students set their sights on becoming a National Merit scholar. Achieving this goal and its financial benefits pushes students to study and perform well on their PSAT/NMSQT.

“That was really what drove me to do well on the PSAT, I knew I’d need money and that was a great opportunity to get some. I’m really glad it worked out” semifinalist Caleb Haymore said.

For future students planning on taking the PSAT/NMSQT and those hopeful of becoming a National Merit scholar, there are various ways to prepare for the test.

“My advice to students trying to become National Merit Semifinalists is to know the material and to be confident enough to apply it in ways you haven’t thought of before,” Bost said.

National Merit semifinalists have become a yearly occurrence at Santa Fe. The group of four from this year is just part of an even bigger group of past and present National Merit scholars and they are certainly not the last to come.