By Amanda Coronado     10/16/2017


Santa Margarita Catholic High School seniors Jordan Jennison of Yorba Linda, Rachel Kim of Irvine, Andrew Senkowski of Laguna Niguel, and Susannah Sherwood of Rancho Santa Margarita were named semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. This honor is earned by fewer than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. These academically-talented high school seniors are four of approximately 16,000 students nationwide that will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit scholarships worth about $32 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a merit scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the merit scholar title. 

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. 

In addition to these talented scholars, Santa Margarita Catholic High School is pleased to announce the following seniors have earned the status of commended students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program:  


Jack A. Barrera  

Emily E. Caraig 

Devon H. Chang 

Cole J. Cherney 

Pelin Ensari 

John P. Evans 

Amanda M. Fosdick 

Laurence J. Habbouch 

Yonghun Heo 

Scott K. Iger 

Bryce W. Kaese 

Cristine A. Kalinski 

Corbin J. Ko 

Jacob E. Manese 

Caroline Needell 

Isabelle S. Odgers 

Jackson V. Odgers 

Alex J. Rossman 

Daniel S. Shaffer 

Jonathan S. Shaw 

Megan E. Tracy 

Amanda M. Wilson 


Commended Students are recognized for the exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test used for program entry. They will not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships.