11 Rochester Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

They are among 16,000 high school seniors nationwide to receive the distinction.

Officials from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced on Wednesday the names of 16,000 Semifinalists in the 58th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Eleven Rochester students made the list, which represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide.

These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

From Rochester and Rochester Hills, the following Semifinalists were named:

Rochester High School

  • Adhitya Venkatesh
  • Kelly L. Yu

Adams High School

  • Zhibin Deng
  • Kimberley E. Hamrick
  • Michelle G. Jin
  • Erica A. Liao
  • Gabrielle Thivierge 

Stoney Creek High School

  • Benjamin R. Bray 
  • Bradley C. Stanton
  • Kevin Zhu 


  • Holly R. Ryan

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program last year by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors and awards received.

A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Are you the parent of a National Merit Semifinalist? Upload a photo here.

Joshua Raymond September 14, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Mike, you sure get a lot of people who sign up with an untraceable name, put one post on to attack you, and then disappear into the ether. Or maybe it's just one person doing this over and over and over. I wonder when Patch will move to Facebook logins exclusively to cut down on this behavior.
Mike Reno September 14, 2012 at 05:47 PM
What sort of support would you have in mind, Keith? I donated five years of my life to the school board, as well as countless hours trying to identify, document, and share potential improvements, I also donated thousands of dollars. If what you want is public praise for the district... then you must not read the things I write. I do offer praise when it's earned, which, unfortunately for our kids, is not that often. If you want hollow praise... look elsewhere. The school board folks typically strain their arms patting themselves on the back.
Keith September 14, 2012 at 06:04 PM
OK. I get it. Jimmy Carter like. You must love him. Monday morning QB. My kid is doing just fine and his teachers are great. I will definitely take a look into your 5 years on the school board and evaluate them. I'm sure your record is flawless. Why only 5 years?
Joshua Raymond September 14, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Keith, RCS is a great district for the vast majority of kids. However, there are groups of kids that the district needs to improve services for. High-ability learners, the ones referenced in this article, is one of these groups. Many of us are glad for Mike's vocal support of these students. I believe it is because more parents have been vocal that we are seeing the Board of Education and the district administration increase discussion - and hopefully action - on this topic.
Daryl Patrishkoff September 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Congratulations to these students, they should be proud of their accomplishments. The dialog by Mike and Joshua is to compare our metrics and performance to other schools systems is fair. I laugh at the “anonymous” posts that take cheap shots at them, all we can guess is they are afraid to say who they really are to hide their hidden agenda. In other words, they are meaningless noise. Metrics are great things to see how you are performing and how to improve. This is a continuous improvement mentality, what is wrong in challenging all to get better? Metrics are the way to do this. If the test is bad, then it is bad for the other communities that scored higher for comparison reasons. Are the scores only skewed for RCS, or all systems? The data says a closer look is necessary. How about focusing on continuous improvement in our own backyard which will continually providing more value. No person or organization is perfect, so we all have improvements to make, that is what makes a great organization, a continuous improvement mentality. You are never done improving.


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