9 Waukee CSD Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

Nine Waukee Community School District seniors have been dubbed National Merit Semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

How the Students Qualified for the Program

Over 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. After that test, 16,000 students were selected as National Merit Semifinalists. Those selected represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Congratulations to our students on this academic honor! 

Meet the Northwest High School Semifinalists:

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Naomi Pittman: Naomi really enjoys English classes and currently works with the Publications crew at school. She says, “I was a little shocked when I heard I was a semifinalist. It’s exciting! Such an honor.”
Amelia Hanson: Amelia plans to study data science in college. Her advice for younger students is: “Find something you are passionate about, and go pursue it.”
Alexandra Hurley: Alexandra gives this advice to younger students: “Don’t get behind in classes. If you are ever getting behind, contact your teachers. They will help you. It’s one of the best ways to get your grades up and keep them up.”
Abby Adams: Abby plans to go to a 4-year college and study engineering. Currently, chemistry is her favorite course of the school year.
Saahas Jetti: Saahas plans to study health and economics in college and play baseball. His favorite year in high school so far was junior year, due to the success of his team.

Meet the Waukee High School Semifinalists:

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Adrian Valluppara: Adrian plans to study aerospace engineering in college. His advice to younger students is: “Focus on doing as well as possible in school, but also have fun.”
Defne Tekinalp: Defne says she feels proud to be a semifinalist because she worked hard to study for the PSAT. She’s looking forward to taking in all the senior moments this school year, including prom and figuring out her college plans.
Lily Voynov: Lily is proud that this recognition identifies the hard work she’s put in at school. Her advice to younger students is: “Try your hardest in school, but still have fun.” 
Caleb Chervenka: Caleb’s favorite subject is math, and he plans to study computer engineering at Iowa State University next year.

What it Takes to Become a National Merit Finalist

To become a finalist, the students and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. 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

National Merit Scholarship Opportunities

The students are in competition for one of 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth a total of nearly $28 million. About 95% of semifinalists will gain finalist standing, and another half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.