Jesuit High School principal Mike Scicchitano made a special announcement at Convocation on Wednesday (Sept. 14), recognizing the school's eight National Merit Semifinalists for 2022-23.
The eight Semifinalists are seniors Kyle Boyes, Anthony Donnelly, Shane Donnelly, Ayden Lee, Jude Soriano, Luke Turner, Jack Uteg, and Collin Williams.
Scicchitano congratulated them for their achievement and acknowledged the dedicated teachers who have helped them, while detailing the value and meaning of becoming a National Merit Semifinalist. He compared it to being an "Academic State Champion." School president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. then received them in front of the student body in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and afterward the Semifinalists and their families gathered for a reception in the Gonzmart Hall east lobby.
The eight Semifinalists are among some 60 Jesuit students over the past 10 years to achieve National Merit Semifinalist recognition. Semifinalists are selected based on their PSAT score, a standardized test administered their junior year, and there are about 16,000 Semifinalists annually nationwide.
The qualifying standard on the PSAT for students to be recognized as Semifinalists can change annually and varies from state to state. The numbers are often slightly different year-to-year because the National Merit Corporation determines the allocation of Semifinalists based on each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. This year in Florida, 1,017 students statewide earned Semifinalist honors from some 150,000 test takers.
In addition to Jesuit's eight National Merit Semifinalists, several more students in Jesuit's Class of 2023 performed very well on the PSAT and will be recognized as National Merit Commended Students at a later date.
The 16,000+ Semifinalists nationwide will continue in the pursuit of 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be determined in the spring. Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition later this school year. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship and earn the Merit Scholar title. The percentage of Semifinalists from Jesuit achieving the Merit Scholar title over the past decade has been well above 50%.
For much more information about the National Merit Scholarship Program, click here.
Jesuit's 2022-23 Semifinalists are pictured below, L-R: Boyes, Soriano, Turner, Shane Donnelly, Uteg, Williams, Lee, and Anthony Donnelly.