Two Benjamin Franklin High School students were recently named a 2013 National Merit semifinalists.
The designation, which is based on performance on the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, allows Franklin students Shelly Ngo and Alex Moreno to compete for about 8,300 scholarships worth more than $32 million.
Moreno was previously featured on Patch for his participation in Franklin High School's Academic Decathlon team.
In May 2012 letter, Moreno wrote about how participating on the squad turned him from a C-student to an academic standout.
The difference between how I wanted to do and how I actually did gave me a rude awakening over the summer, so, for the first time in my life, I actually started studying at home. After heading to Sacramento for the state competition and exceeding even my loftiest expectations, I’ve realized how much Decathlon has changed me for the better. Since last summer, I’ve actually started doing most of my assignments and my grades have improved dramatically. Last semester, I earned four 'A's and my mom was so proud she stuck my report card on the fridge. I may not end up going to Harvard or MIT, but I’m sure I’ll get accepted somewhere nice.
About 1.5 million juniors in 22,000 high schools took the 2011 PSAT. About 16,000 were named National Merit semifinalists.
To earn finalist status, students must have a superior academic record, a recommendation from their principal and an SAT score that's equivalent to or higher than their PSAT score. They must also submit an application along with an essay.
About 15,000 semifinalists will become finalists in February. Scholarships winners will be announced in the spring.