Three in Great Neck schools named National Merit Scholars

North High Principal Daniel Holtzman congratulates Courtney Hakimian and Megan Xu on being National Merit Scholars. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)
North High Principal Daniel Holtzman congratulates Courtney Hakimian and Megan Xu on being National Merit Scholars. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)

Three seniors from the Great Neck Public Schools have been named National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program: Courtney Hakimian and Megan Xu of North High School, and Kimberly Lu of South High School.

South High Principal Dr. Christopher Gitz and guidance counselor Gillian O’Connell congratulate Kimberly Lu. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)
South High Principal Dr. Christopher Gitz and guidance counselor Gillian O’Connell congratulate Kimberly Lu. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)

A total of 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. “National Merit Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies,” according to the organization.

Hakimian, Xu and Lu were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors based on the following criteria: academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the student; and a recommendation written by their high school principal.

The National Merit Scholarship Program includes several rounds of evaluation. The first round recognizes high school seniors as Commended Students based on their outstanding performance on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Less than one percent of the highest-scoring entrants in each state advance as semifinalists in September, followed by the announcement of Finalists in February.

This year, the Great Neck Public Schools had 34 commended students, 23 semifinalists, 21 finalists, and 3 National Merit Scholars.

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