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Park City High School announces record number of Merit Scholar semifinalists

PCHS Merit Scholar semifinalists 2022.jpg
Park City School District
Park City High School Merit Scholar semifinalists. Left to right: Alex Kuck, Case Schemmer, William Shuflit, Dominik Jamrich, James Kwan, Zachary Aldous, Oliver Diaz Moore.

Park City High School announced seven seniors have been named National Merit Scholar finalists.

Park City High School Principal Roger Arbabi acknowledged the seven Merit Scholar semifinalists in a small ceremony in the high school foyer. Their names were kept secret until the announcement, but their parents were alerted in advance so they could attend. The students represent the largest number of semifinalists in Park City High School's history.

The seven students are Alex Kuck, Case Schemmer, William Shuflit, Dominik Jamrich, James Kwan, Zachary Aldous, and Oliver Diaz Moore.

The National Merit Scholarship announcement happens simultaneously in high schools around the country. The award is based on scores on certain standardized tests usually taken by high school juniors.

Arbabi said the students are among an elite group of academic achievers.

"A few years ago, we had six, but this year it's seven. Unusual this year is that they were all boys, actually," Arbabi said. "All young men that qualified for the semifinalists. There are 16,000 that were announced and that equates to about .5% of the graduating class of 2023 nationwide."

Arbabi said they'll announce the finalists in March after the semifinalists submit an essay and transcripts. The finalists will get a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship. Additionally, he said, many universities provide financial awards to Merit Scholars.

“They estimate that about 95% of the semifinalists actually do qualify to be finalists," Arbabi said. "Once they do checks on their academic performance, they just want to verify that the test was valid and then, you know, they provide an essay. It's just a check, do a little bit of checking on the students, so 95% of them will make the finalist."

A photo of the students can be found in the online version of this report.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.