OHS announces four National Merit scholars


Photo by Aayushi Datta

The four national merit semifinalists were treated to a breakfast, celebrating their accomplishment.

Gabriel de Souza, Editor-in-Chief

After the PSAT was administered last fall, semifinalists for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program were announced—with OHS having four of the seven semifinalists in the district.

The renowned scholarship is only awarded to PSAT test-takers who scored in the top one percent in their state. With the many benefits that come from achieving such a prized scholarship, many students awaited hopefully.

“My first reaction was to text my parents,” said Esha Saraswat, senior. “I texted them in all caps, ‘guess what, I got this.’ Honestly, they were probably happier than I was about it because we had been really hoping that I would get it.”

While anticipating the announcement, students did not know whether their scores would be high enough for the scholarship.

“When I first found out about the scholarship, I thought it was pretty unattainable, especially after getting my scores,” said Kate Sheppard, senior. “[My scores] were high but not super high so I wasn’t ever expecting to be getting the scholarship.”

The scholarship is a gateway to higher education for many students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend post-secondary institutions, like TJ Bedgood, senior, who planned on entering the workforce before he became aware of the scholarship.

“Now, I do actually plan on going to college,” said TJ Bedgood, senior. “[This scholarship] made me realize how much scholarship money I can get for the scores that I’ve had.”

For students who aspire to attend distinguished universities, the hefty price tag may come as a burden, yet the National Merit Scholarship can help them pay for ever increasing tuition.

“I’m applying out-of-state so [the scholarship] is super helpful to finance my out-of-state tuition,” said Anisha Tanikella, senior.

OHS’s students had many test-taking strategies that helped them prepare for the exam and led them to success; while for some, the best advice was to not allow the stress the exam brings to overrun one’s life.

“Don’t stress yourself out about [the PSAT] too much,” Saraswat said. “I think [I did well] because I wasn’t as stressed out about what the outcome would be and I didn’t overwork myself.”