Class of 2018 National Merit honorees named

16 GBHS seniors receive national commendation


Jennifer Leighton

Jamie Kanchananakhin, Ryan Haug, Stanley Huang, Michael O’Dea, Nikolay Kisel, Jai Pakhale, Eric Werner, Ryan Hunter, David Song, Steph Kang, Divya Shetty, Mackenzie Hall, Sarah Ansari and Ryan Gong, left to right, were all recognized as National Merit commended scholars in the annual National Merit Sholarship contest based on PSAT scores.

 What’s the point of taking the PSAT? That exact question is asked every year by sophomores and juniors all around the nation.

  Along with serving as great practice for upcoming standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT, the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test allows students to qualify themselves for National Merit Scholarship recognition and money.

  Every junior’s PSAT score could result in their commendation into the program as a senior, and sets them up for potentially winning thousands of dollars in the form of scholarships.

  The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes and offers scholarship money to qualified high school students based on academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received throughout high school.

  This year, 16 Granite Bay High seniors were named National Merit commended scholars based on their PSAT scores taken during their junior year.

  “I was surprised that I even qualified for it,” said senior Michael O’Dea. “I had no idea what it was until I got it.”

  O’Dea scored a 1,400 on his PSAT out of a possible 1,520, and he was pleasantly surprised to find that his Selection Index Score was just good enough for him to be named a commended student.

  The Selection Index Score is a converted score that can be used by the NMSC to make a cut off that varies by state.

  David Song, another senior qualifying for the award, scored a 1440 on the PSAT he took during his junior year and also was surprised when he found out he was selected as a commended scholar.

  “California is notorious for having insanely high averages in standardized testing,” Song said.

  California’s cutoff for the class of 2018’s Selection Index score was 222 and ranked as one of the highest in the nation. To put that into perspective, cut off scores from all other states ranged from 211-223 this year.

  GBHS principal Jennifer Leighton noted how “it is very difficult to achieve this honor,” and she said she is extremely proud of those who were recognized.

  Only semi-finalists have the chance of becoming finalists and earning scholarship money. Statistically, one percent of the semi-finalists become finalists.

  “Last year, in the end, no one from (Roseville Joint Union High School District) received one of the prestigious scholarships,” Leighton said.

  What is commonly unknown regarding the

PSAT’s significance is the future opportunity for recognition and scholarship money.

  “I highly recommend students try to achieve it by studying for the PSAT,” O’Dea said.

  On top of the opportunities directly pertaining to success on the PSAT, there is the learning experience aspect as well.

  “I would recommend younger students to take the PSAT seriously,” Song said, “and ultimately use it as practice for the SAT which really matters.”