Huntington High School senior Alexis Weitzner has been named a semi-finalist in the 58th annual National Merit scholarship program. The distinction places her among the top members of America’s Class of 2013.
“I am so proud to have achieved this honor,” she said. “It was great way to start off my senior year.”
The National Merit Scholarship program debuted in 1955. It provides recognition and scholarships for top high school students. About 16,000 seniors advance annually to the semi-final round of the competition and another 34,000 students receive letters of commendation.
Weitzner plans to be on the staff of The Huntingtonian, the high school yearbook, and become more involved with The Dispatch, the school’s newspaper.
The teenager is enrolled in a host of Advanced Placement courses this year, including classes in physics, literature, government, economics, statistics, and 2D design. “I’m also taking the newly resurrected business law elective, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite classes,” Weitzner said.
Ms. Weitzner is an active member of many honor societies at Huntington High School. She has held multiple board positions with the Art Honor Society in the past few years. Her current career goal is to become a lawyer and work at a big law firm in either New York or California. “The business law course is definitely helping me to shape my future,” she said.
“Those who have the privilege of meeting Alexis will quickly recognize her as an intelligent, motivated and well-rounded student,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “She is one who has challenged herself in so many regards and one who has not hesitated to pursue her interests. Based on her academic and extracurricular accomplishments, it comes as no surprise that she has earned National Merit semi-finalist status.”
Some of the senior’s top choices for college next year include Stanford, Vanderbilt and Duke and it appears Ms. Weitzner is well positioned to gain acceptance to an assortment of top tier schools. She participated in a law program at Stanford this past summer.
This year’s National Merit competition drew entries from more than 1.5 million teenagers from 22,000 high schools. The students “entered the 2013 National Merit program by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants,” according to the National Merit website. “The nationwide pool of semi-finalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.”
In addition to high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT, competitors must also meet various stringent participation requirements. They are eventually assigned a "selection index" that is based on their critical reading, math and writing skills scores.
About 90 percent of all semi-finalists will be named finalists and 8,300 of them will win a National Merit scholarship. There is more than $32 million available for this year’s program.