These 4 Tri-Cities students were named National Merit Scholar semifinalists

Four high school seniors from the Tri-Cities were named semifinalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship program.

They are among the highest scoring SAT students in Washington state.

And nationwide, the 16,000 National Merit semifinalists represent less than 1% of the U.S.’s highest-scoring high school students.

These students will have the opportunity to move on as finalists and compete for 7,140 National Merit scholarships worth nearly $28 million this spring.

“National Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college students, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference,” said an announcement from the program.

This year’s Tri-Cities semifinalists are:

Pasco High School

  • Anita Valdez (No college major listed)

Hanford High School

  • Luke Berglin (Aerospace, aeronautical and space engineering)

  • John Orrell (Physics)

Richland High School

  • Sahir Tandon (No major listed)

The students were considered for placement in the program after taking the 2022 preliminary SAT test during their junior year.

To become a finalist, students must submit a detailed scholarship application detailing their academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership activities, employment and list any honors or awards received.

About 95% of semifinalists move on to become a finalist. These students will be announced in February.

Those students will compete for 2,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $2,500, 840 corporate-sponsored scholarships and 3,800 college-sponsored scholarships from 160 higher education institutions.

About half of the program’s finalists will earn a National Merit Scholarship