Central academic stars become National Merit semifinalists

By Rithu Uppalapati

Of the 1.4 million people who took the PSAT in October last year, four students from Central are National Merit Semifinalists.

“Four people have qualified, the highest in 10 years,” said Dr. Maryjo Hecker, Head of Counseling.

Seniors Arin Amin, Zachary Bezemek, Vinay Honosage, and Michelle Sheng are the four from Central who are in the top 1% of the nation.

“It’s a very, very, very big deal,” said Hecker. Out of the 1.4 million students in the nation that took the test, 55,000 are recognized, 16,000 become semifinalists, and four of them are at Central.

“I knew that the PSAT was the qualifying test for a scholarship, but the word national made it seem unreachable,” said Bezemek.

But these four students didn’t just go out and take the test. “I prepared for 4 months, 1 hour each day,” said Vinay Honosage. The practicing probably took more time and effort than the test itself.

Their journey isn’t over yet though, “I have to take the SAT in order for qualifying for finals,” said Bezemek.

Eight thousand out of the 15,000 finalists get scholarships from The National Merit Corporation. But the other three thousand may be eligible for corporate, and college scholarships ranging from $500 – $2000 dollars a year.

“I felt good when I was told I was a semifinalist, but there is also a huge application to go from semi-finalist to finalist,” said Honosage.

Now all the students have to do is take the SAT and wait till February to know if they’re a finalist.

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