Whoa Nelly! Forty-five Ignatians recognized as National Merit Scholars

by Thomas Napoli ‘17

The 2016 National Merit Scholars were recently announced, and this class of seniors certainly hasn’t failed to impress. This year, St. Ignatius put out a total of 45 recognized students: 42 scholars, 21 of whom being semifinalists and 2 being National Hispanic Scholars. These merit scholars continue to uphold the long-standing, Ignatian tradition of academic excellence through hard work and commitment.

This award is based on their PSAT scores, and only the top 2.3% of test takers qualify as commended scholars. Even fewer achieve the title of semifinalist; only about 1.1%. Therefore, about 11% of our seniors are in the top 2% of test takers in the nation, a very impressive feat! Saint Ignatius had the most National Merit Scholars of any Catholic school in the state and the fourth most overall in the state.

Peter Abou Haidar, a National Merit Semifinalist, expressed his thoughts when receiving the award, and he had this to say: “I was really excited to learn that I was a semi-finalist, and it was a good feeling being recognized.” He said that the free PSAT prep class, offered by the school, was extremely helpfulNHS GRAPH for getting in practice problems and learning test strategies.

Mr. Brian Martin, a teacher in the PSAT prep class, talked about the benefits of being informed and advice for juniors who will be taking the test. Mr. Martin notes that, “This test is beatable.” It’s not to say that the test will be a cakewalk. It just means that with the time and dedication the teachers and students put forth, the task can be accomplished. He said that students should also learn what’s on the redesigned test and that practice is key for success.

This award brings with it a sense of selectiveness and prestige that no other high school, academic award offers. It sets the bar exceptionally high making those who surpass that bar exceptionally distinguished. It is arguably the most prestigious, academic award a high school student can attain. Make sure you congratulate these scholars in the halls, and continue to strive for excellence like they do.