Three Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

Three Oshkosh West High School students are among the top 1% in the nation.

Three Oshkosh West High School seniors were named 2022 National Merit Semifinalists, an honor recognizing the top less than one percent of high school students nationwide.

Elaina Balke, Anika Larson and Robert Valero had among the highest Wisconsin scores on the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test PSAT/NMSQT®. The trio can compete for one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totalling more than $30 million that will be awarded next spring.

“We are very proud of these students’ academic achievements and wish them the best as they continue in this rigorous competition,” Oshkosh West High School Principal Erin Kohl said. 

Balke, Larson and Valero are among 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists nationwide. About 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing in February and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, eaming the title of Merit Scholar. 

To continue in the competition, a student and high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application that includes the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards. Students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the PSAT/NMSQT®.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation was established in 1955 and has recognized more than 362,000 Merit Scholars nationwide over its history.