48 Blazers become National Merit semifinalists


Oct. 1, 2022, 10:23 p.m. | By Kate Gray | 2 months ago

Almost one third of MCPS semifinalists in the PSAT-based competition were Blair students.


Semifinalists of the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Competition were announced on Sept. 14, with 48 of the 147 MCPS winners hailing from Blair

Semifinalists from Blair include: 

  1. Benjamin Broderick-Sokol
  2. Justin E. Chen
  3. Travis Y. Chen
  4. Kaden K. Chien
  5. Nathan T. Cho
  6. Elizabeth E. Chu
  7. Areeb F. Gani
  8. Annie M. Gao
  9. Julia A. Gelfond
  10. Anna X. Gu
  11. Megan Y. Gu
  12. Joshua Hsieh
  13. Claire J. Hwang
  14. Michael C. Ilie
  15. Melisa J. Kalayoglu
  16. Srihari K. Kompella
  17. Elina Y. Lee
  18. Katalina N. Li
  19. Sean Li
  20. Brianna J. Lin
  21. Eileen Luo
  22. Jonah S. McDonald
  23. Anushka Poddar
  24. Autumn T. Qiu
  25. Anika Rai
  26. Kevin Rha
  27. Nathan Z. Shan
  28. Vijay R. Shanmugam
  29. Ellen K. Shepherd Johnson
  30. Andrew K. Szabo
  31. Milan A. Tenn
  32. Grace M. Thomas
  33. Solomon N. Ucko
  34. Charles H. Wajda-Gotwals
  35. Eric X. Wang
  36. Joshua Wang
  37. Jonah M. Witte
  38. Evan C. Wu
  39. Kevin J. Wu
  40. Claire N. Xu
  41. Jiayie K. Yang
  42. Kevin Y. Yao
  43. Tong Tong G. Ye
  44. Elizabeth R. Yuan
  45. Kevin G. Zhang
  46. Maggie Zhang
  47. Caleb Y. Zhao
  48. Frederick O. Zheng

Blair National Merit Semifinalists celebrate with staff on Sept. 14, 2022. (Photo courtesy of MBHS Counseling)

Blair semifinalist Kevin Rha reflected on his win: “I was initially surprised, but I'm proud of myself and all the other students who qualified as a semifinalist,” he said.

For other Blazers looking to ace the PSAT and become a National Merit semifinalist or finalist, Rha has some advice. “Freshmen should study for and take the SAT as soon as realistically possible, but at the same time not feel time-pressured,” he explained. “Lots and lots of practice tests will familiarize them with the format of the PSAT and SAT, and testing under duress.”

Additionally, Rha emphasized that being physically prepared to take the test can also have a positive impact on how one performs. “Students should make themselves comfortable with standardized testing before, get a good night's rest, and eat a healthy breakfast the morning of. The way you function physically is a high indicator of how you will function mentally,” he said.

Semifinalists across the country, totaling about 16,000, will be considered to become finalists. Finalists are eligible for $2,500 National Merit scholarships, corporate-sponsored and college-sponsored scholarships, which are to be announced later this school year.

Finalists will be announced in the Spring of 2023.

Editor's Note: The National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists include Katalina Li, Vijay R. Shanmugam, and Jiayie (Kathereen) K. Yang, all of which are members of SCO.

Last updated: Oct. 3, 2022, 9:33 a.m.



Kate Gray. Hi! I'm Kate (she/her) and I'm a videographer and staff writer at SCO. I enjoy swimming, acting, reading, and playing with my dog. More »

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