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Seven of the nine 11th grade National Merit Scholars

Nine members of Providence Day School’s class of 2024 have been named semifinalists in the 69th Annual National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®). Seniors Jacob Chen, Sean Guo, Garrett Holt, Karishma Kodali, Shravan Selvavel, Jack Sindelar-Beatus, Pavan Thakkar, Jodie Yan, and Nathan Zhang are among the 16,000 students to become semifinalists by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of high school seniors.

“As I look at the names of these nine PDS [student] semifinalists, I am struck by the fact that – in every case – standardized testing is about the fourth or fifth most impressive thing they do!” said Jack Whelan, Director of College Guidance. “These nine seniors are being recognized for their eleventh grade PSAT scores, but they are also outstanding students, scientists, volunteers, and athletes – a truly multi-talented group of students.”

Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. Approximately 16,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level and will be notified of this designation in February.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2024 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 375,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Identify and honor academically talented U.S. high school students and encourage them to pursue rigorous college studies;
  • Provide professional services for corporations, company  foundations, colleges and universities, and other individuals and organizations that wish to sponsor scholarships for outstanding participants in the competition;
  • Promote a broader and deeper respect for learning in general and for exceptionally talented individuals in particular;
  • Stimulate increased support for the education of scholastically able students; and
  • Encourage the pursuit of academic excellence at all levels of education.

Former merit scholars include Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner and OpEd columnist for The New York Times; Merrick Garland, United States District Attorney; Bill Gates, former chairman, Microsoft Corporation; Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court; Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chairman,; Mae Carol Jemison, first Black woman in space; and Manoj "M. Night" Shyamalan, filmmaker, two-time Academy Award nominee.

Established in 1955, the program is a U.S. academic scholarship competition administered by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a privately funded, not-for-profit organization.

Seven of the nine class of 2024 National Merit Scholarship Corporation semifinalists

Front row (l-r): Pavan Thakkar, Karishma Kodali, and Jodie Yan
Back row (l-r): Shravan Selvavel, Garrett Holt, Jack Sindelar-Beatus, and Jacob Chen
Not pictured: Sean Guo and Nathan Zhang