11 Fairfield seniors named Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Semifinalists for the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship program were announced Wednesday.

Semifinalists for the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship program were announced Wednesday.

Sophie Vaughan / Hearst Connecticut Media

FAIRFIELD — Eleven local students have been named 2020 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

These high school seniors were among 16,000 semifinalists announced Wednesday by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). This pool represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, according to NMSC.

Warde Principal Paul Cavanna was proud to recognize five Warde semifinalists: Emma Bella Bass-Lawrence, Philip Hogan, Poongwoon Lee, Andrew Tran and Hannah Ulman.

“These outstanding students exhibited academic excellence, which resulted in them advancing to the [semifinalist] level.,” Cavanna said. “Our school community is so proud of them, as they are true examples of the Warde Way.”

Ludlowe Principal Greg Hatzis was also excited to announce five Falcon honorees: Rohan Agrawal, Elena Ault, Nathaniel Epstein, Sameer Sadarangani and Shailen Smith.

“This is a testament to their dedication and achievement, as well as an indication of the excellent teachers they have had in the course of their education in the Fairfield Public Schools,” Hatzis said. “We also acknowledge their families for the support they provide.”

Fairfield College Preparatory School also has one semifinalist, Mark Ballesteros.

This is the 65th year of the program for NMSC, a nonprofit organization that awards scholarships to high-achieving students with the goal of “honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.”

NMSC determines semifinalists using scores from the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, taken by high school juniors.

Semifinalists will have the opportunity to compete for 7,600 national Merit Scholarships, worth over $31 million in total, awarded each spring. Semifinalists and high school officials are required to submit a detailed application to advance to the next stage of competition.