The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

National Merit Semifinalists Announced

Nickelsberg%2C+Balas%2C+Grimes%2C+and+Casagrande+celebrate+their+achievement.
Nickelsberg, Balas, Grimes, and Casagrande celebrate their achievement.

Three TC Students Recognized for Competitive Award

Julian St. John

Every year, the College Board announces the National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, a list of students who scored in the top one percent of test takers on the PSAT/NMSQT in October of the year before. On September 11, it was announced that T.C. has three students who received the distinction this year: seniors Leah Nickelsburg, James Grimes, and Riley Casagrande.

These students were called down to the Jack Taylor College and Career Center during seventh block, where Principal Peter Balas and other members of the administration were waiting. Balas congratulated the students, mentioning the pride that the school has in them. Photos were taken with academy administrators and Balas. 

“I did not know…that I had qualified,” Nickelsburg said. “When it got to be September 11 and I had not heard anything I assumed that I was not a semifinalist.” 

“I was not in anyway expecting to be a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist,” said Casagrande, “It feels great to be honored. People I do not even know keep approaching and congratulating me.”  She also recognized others who had received this award, saying, “I really respect them, and it is very cool to be considered among them”

“I am very excited,” said Grimes, who “just took the PSAT with everyone last year.”  

“It feels great to be a National Merit Semifinalist,” Nickelsburg said. She also commented on the fact that she was not the only one who studied hard, “I do not think it is healthy to attach too much emotional significance to a test score,” said Nicklesburg, “especially when there are so many variables involved in everyone’s testing experience. But there is a feeling of ‘I did it, that is awesome!’” 

Casagrade said that her favorite subject is English. Nickelsburg said, “every subject has the potential to be fascinating if it is taught correctly. My favorite subject is probably English; I love reading and writing, and I love thinking about how language works. I feel a bit guilty picking a favorite subject because I enjoy all of them for different reasons. All of my classes are engaging, and all of my teachers are wonderful people.” In contrast with Casagrande and Nickelsburg, Grimes said his favorite subject is Math.

Nickelsburg also says that she wants to go to a college that offers “a rigorous liberal arts education” and also wants “to learn more about the history, politics, and economics.” Other things she wants to do during college include “participate[ing] in research in the humanities and social sciences as an undergrad” as well as “getting some sort of a musical education after high school.”

Casagrande, Grimes, and Nicklesburg have all decided to continue with the competition. After submiting further proof of meeting a “high academic standard”, 7500 finalists will be chosen in March to receive a $2500 scholarship. 

“I am planning on applying to become a National Merit Finalist. It is a great opportunity,” said Nickelsburg.

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National Merit Semifinalists Announced