Twelve Mount Si High School seniors from the Class of 2017 have been named National Merit Scholars in recognition of their outstanding academic performance. They each earned top scores in the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), taken last fall.
Class of 2017 National Merit Scholars are:
• Petru Constantin,
• Austin Craig,
• Auni Edwards,
• Casey Harris,
• Andrew Kirby,
• Rahul Rajkumar,
• Donavan See,
• Erik Spalding,
• Jackson Stokes,
• Lindsey Sydnor,
• Steven Watters and
• Noah Whelan.
Rajkumar was the only Mount Si student to be named a National Merit Semifinalist in the 2017 program, as he was among the highest scoring entrants for each state, among the 1.5 million high school students nationwide who took the exam last fall.
Semifinalist titles are awarded to approximately 16,000 or the top one-third of the 50,000 highest scorers on the PSAT. As a semifinalist, he can continue in the competition and apply to become a National Merit Finalist and scholarship winner. Finalists are announced in the spring.
Ten seniors were named National Merit Commended Students, Constantin, Craig, Harris, Kirby, See, Spalding, Stokes, Sydnor, Watters and Whelan. Two-thirds of the 50,000 highest scoring students earned Commended Student awards.
Additionally, Auni Edwards was named a National Hispanic Scholar for scoring among the top 2.5 percent of Hispanic and Latino students nationwide who took the PSAT.
Constantin wants to study computer science at the University of Washington (UW) or Washington State University (WSU), with aspirations of becoming a software engineer.
His advice: “Do your work, even if you don’t think it matters. Try to apply yourself and care about school.”
Craig is planning to attend a four-year university and study international relations or economics. His top choice schools include Georgetown University in Washington D.C. or Davidson College in North Carolina.
His advice: “Do your homework. It makes a big difference and helps you later on.”
Edwards plans to attend a four-year university, possibly UW or WSU to explore a career in computer science and software engineering.
Her advice: “Join clubs and activities. Be active at school in as many clubs as possible. It makes you more well-rounded and feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
Harris is planning to attend a college next year, preferably in the Pacific Northwest. He’s interested in studying computer science or psychology.
His advice: “You should not expect to know it all. Other people can be incredibly helpful, whether teachers, your parents or friends. Make sure you reach out to others when you need help.”
Kirby is interested in studying computer science and possibly chemistry at a four-year university next year. He’s considering UW, Stanford and University of Colorado.
His advice: “Take classes that are challenging and that really interest you.”
Rajkumar wants to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and study computer engineering, with the potential to become a computer hardware engineer.
His advice: “Study a lot. Practice makes perfect.”
See will be returning to Singapore to serve in the military next year, which is a requirement of Singapore citizenship. After this service, he plans to double major in computer science and mathematics at either UW or Stanford. He’s considering careers as a data scientist or computer programmer.
His advice: “Work hard and in a SMART way — because you need to find time for yourself.”
Spalding’s top choices for college next year are UW, Western Washington University or University of Puget Sound, where he plans to study mathematics or economics.
His advice: “Do your best to get eight hours of sleep.”
Stokes is considering a job next year with the National Park Service in trail development, or a four-year university. He wants to study math and computer science, with an interest in a career path in artificial intelligence to design new environmental technologies.
His advice: “Spend time with your parents now, because you won’t have much more time with them.”
Sydnor plans to attend a four-year university that will also provide running opportunities. She’s interested in studying biology or biochemistry for her undergraduate degree, and then continuing on to medical school with a focus in neurology.
Her advice: “Definitely involve yourself in sports. It makes you feel better about yourself and what you can accomplish, and helps you focus in school. It helps your brain.”
Watters is planning to study business administration, management and operations at either UC Berkeley or UW. His second option is to feed elephants.
His advice: “Don’t procrastinate all the time. I wish I knew at the beginning of high school how much that would make things easier.”
Whelan is considering two options, either attending UW or WSU to study mechanical or aerospace engineering, or possibly join the police academy.
His advice: “Set realistic goals. Also, don’t consider a four-year university as the only or best option as to what you want to do.”
The National Merit Scholar portraits will be added to the Wall of Fame in Mount Si High School’s main hallway.
For more information on the College Board/PSAT & National Merit scholarships, visit http://www.collegeboard.com.