Three PHS students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Three Pulaski High School seniors are among 16,000 semifinalists of the 62nd-annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Jeffrey Ai, son of Quan and Zhaowei Ai; Natalie Nickerson, daughter of Michael Nickerson and Janelle Bailey; and Julianna Voelker, daughter of Michael and Lisa Voelker; have the opportunity to continue the selection process for approximately 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.

“We are honored to have three outstanding senior students at Pulaski High School recognized as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program,” said Supt. Bec Kurzynske. “Their individual dedication to academic excellence is commendable, and we congratulate them and their families on this recognition!”

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship Award, semifinalists must fulfill requirements to advance to the finalist level including:

●        Submitting a detailed scholarship application that includes information on his or her academic record, participation in school and community activities and demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors or awards received;

●        Being endorsed by a high school official;

●        Writing an essay; and

●        Earning SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on a qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 will be named finalists in February. All National Merit Scholarship finalists will be named from the finalist list next spring.

“I'm very excited to have been named a National Merit Semifinalist,”  Voelker said,  “and I hope to continue on to become a finalist.” She plans to study chemistry and music in college.

Ai, who plans to go into the medical field, said, “I did not believe it.”

Nickerson, who plans to study aerospace engineering, also was excited but not as surprised as Ai.  She thought it might be a possibility based on comparisons of her test score with other PHS student test scores who were named semifinalists in the past.

Jeremy Pach, PHS principal, said, “What an achievement! I wish them the best of luck in the next step of the process.” He said the students set an example for others. “It shows other students what they can achieve.”