Two seniors are National Merit semifinalists

Class of 2019 members Harrison Muth and Connor Pugh have been selected as semifinalists for the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program, which honors students who display the potential for excellence in their college studies.

The two seniors qualified for the program with their performance on the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) — which measures critical reading, mathematics and writing skills — that they took during the fall of their Form V (junior) year.

Muth is the 2017-18 recipient of the Hugh C. Riddleberger Alumni Scholarship Award, given to the Form V student with the highest GPA. Muth was also awarded the prestigious Dartmouth Book Award, given to the Form V student that displays "general excellence in all areas of school life." Muth also received an honorable mention in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Pugh, an Advanced Placement student, explores extracurricular computer programming learning opportunities in his free time. He has shared his passion for Chinese language by participating in the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center Chinese New Year Celebration in D.C.

Out of an initial pool of 1.6 million students, Muth and Pugh will move on to compete against roughly 16,000 other nationwide semifinalists to become a finalist, which will be announced in February. They could go on to receive one of 7,500 different scholarships awarded this spring.

In selecting the scholarship recipients (known as Merit Scholars), the National Merit Scholarship Program, now in its 63rd year, will take into account each student's standardized test scores, academic performance, extracurricular activities, a letter of recommendation from a high-school official, and the finalist's own personal essay.