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Herricks Students Named Merit Semifinalists

Every October juniors and sophomores take the PSAT/NMSQT standardized test to gauge their actual SAT scores might be. Juniors who perform exceptionally well on the exam are chosen to be National Merit Semi-finalists; the minimum score required to achieve national merit last year for New York was 219 out of 240. Seven students from Herricks were awarded with this honor: Ankoor Talwar, William Chung, Justin Hsuan, Rifath Rashid, Amen Wiqas, Esther Chen, and Bernadette Haig.

 

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is administered by The College Board in conjunction with the National Merit Scholarship corporation. Sections of the test mirror the SAT itself- two critical reading sections, two math sections, and one writing section.

 

Every year 1.5 million juniors take the NMSQT exam. Approximately 55,000 of these students across the country receive high scores. More than 34,000 students, almost two thirds of the high scorers, receive the commended student title;

however, only 16,000 are rewarded with the distinction of being National Merit Semi-finalists.

 

The partition of the ranges of scores to receive commended student and semi-finalist is based on each state’s spectrum of scores- so the highest scoring entrants from each state are qualified. New York is known for having the most competitive scores, which means obtaining National Merit Semi-finalist status is extremely difficult in this state. As semi-finalists, students get their names sent across the country to colleges by the NMSC (National Merit Scholarship Corporation).

 

So what exactly helped these students perform well on the exam? “It is really all about preparation.” Ankoor said. “If you want to compete for a Semi-finalist position, you have to understand all the material on the test.”

 

Rifath added that technique was key for success. For him, writing (section composed of grammar rules) and math were straight forward, but he identified critical reading (section where students are asked to read passages and answer questions) as the “difficult section for most test takers.”

 

His technique for dealing with the critical reading section was to talk to himself during the test and to act like a judge by defending his answer before choosing them.

 

Because of their test taking acumen, these semi-finalists must now submit a lengthy application to be considered finalists for the scholarship. As part of the application, they first must report an SAT score that mirrors or closely relates to their PSAT score. Second, they are required to write an essay (on a topic of the applicant’s choice). Lastly, teacher recommendations, proof of consistently high academic grades and participation in extracurricular activities must be sent in.

 

The applications are all reviewed by NMSC selectors. Semi-finalists are then notified in February by mail if they have been selected as finalists. Generally, 90 percent of semi-finalists meet the requirements to become finalists (15,000 students), and are thereby considered for Merit Scholarship awards. In the end, 8,000 students are chosen for their high academic achievement, their propensity to cultivate knowledge, and their likelihood of success in the future. Finalist rewards sum up to a total of $35 million and will be awarded this coming spring.

 

There are three different awards a finalist can receive. Every single finalist will have the opportunity to compete for a $2,500 scholarship that is distributed to 2,500 students across the country. Corporations also participate by rewarding students with scholarships (some 1,000 rewards will be sponsored by about 240 businesses). Finally, approximately 200 colleges will sponsor 4,500 scholarships for prospective students planning on attend their respective schools.

News

James Sokol and Jake Leeds from Boy Scout Troop 298 recently completed their service projects.

 

Sokol and fellow Scouts replaced the backboards, rims and nets in the basketball court in Nuzzi Park. They also trimmed trees and repainted the court lines. 

The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from local school districts showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, 39 students in the Herricks School District opted out of the English exam, while 74 did not take the math test. For the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, 17 students did not take the English test while 18 refused to take the math test.


Sports

The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season. 

 

It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. 

 

Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board. 

Sewanhaka Indians Head football coach George Kasimatis told his team to expect a dogfight in this weeks game against the New Hyde Park Gladiators, and he was right after its 35-21 victory last week. 

 

“All the kids know each other really well, it’s always competitive when we play each other,” he said. 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 22

International Night - October 23

Halloween Dance - October 24


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