Three ACPS students earn top National Merit scores

(From left) Daniel Wang, Megan Chen and Nathan Wei earned the highest scores as National Merit semifinalists.
(From left) Daniel Wang, Megan Chen and Nathan Wei earned the highest scores as National Merit semifinalists.
Courtesy of ACPS

The College Board announced that 35 Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) students have earned semifinalist status in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship program with three achieving the highest score on the exam.

According to an ACPS release, the 35 semifinalists are among the top 1% of high school seniors nationwide

Three Buchholz High School students, Megan Chen, Daniel Wang and Nathan Wei, earned the highest possible selection index score (total score) on the exam.

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“I congratulate the students who have been named semifinalists,” said ACPS Superintendent Shane Andrew in a press release. “They’ve made their schools, their teachers and certainly their families very proud.”

To qualify as semifinalists, students must earn among the nation’s highest scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Each year, nearly 1.5 million students take the exam and around 16,000 are named semifinalists. 

The semifinalists have the opportunity to earn finalist status. Along with earning high scores on the SAT, they must submit applications highlighting their other academic achievements, leadership activities, awards and honors earned, teacher recommendations and an essay.

Buchholz High School had 19 semifinalists in this year’s program with Eastside High School and Gainesville High School having eight each.

Students will learn in early 2024 if they reach the finalist status. Finalists will be eligible for thousands of scholarship dollars provided by businesses, colleges and universities and other organizations.

The ACPS semifinalists include: 

Buchholz High School: Megan Chen, Richard Feng, Nolan Gao, William Guan, Noah Hunter, Max Kaplan, Melissa Li, Hailey Lin, Edison Loftus, Kelsey Morey, Peter Neubert, Sarah Rodkin, Parsa Tehranipoor, Daniel Wang, Laurie Wang, Nathan Wei, Billy Yang, Kailyn Zhai, Emmanuel Zheng.

Eastside High School: Madeleine Gurka, Daniel Huang, Shravya Mandava, August McDaniel, Armando Rodriguez, Isaac Savin, Noah Siegel, Rachel Xu.

Gainesville High School: Cadien Archer, Maheer Bansari, Peter Blay, Kyle Choe, Kathleen Ferrer, Ellee Guin, Carl Jury, Katelinn Kochtan.

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