Record-Breaking 34 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists Named

Thirty-four Punahou seniors were named 2019 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists in recognition of their exceptional academic ability and potential for collegiate success. The students earned high-ranking qualifying test scores that placed them among the top 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide. Nationally 16,202 students were named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, with 67 of those being in Hawai‘i. Punahou students represented 51 percent of the state’s honorees.

Record-Breaking 34 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists Named
From left, first row: Colin Yeo, Maya Vita, Zoe Payne, Tae Kakazu, Veronica Will, Kourtney Kanja. Second row: Malia Munley, Lilia Akina-Magnussen, Miranda Eddins, Eliana Reeves, Maya Debouk, Akshay Chekuri. Third row: Pomaika‘i Ogata, Zachary Ingram, Chloe McCreery, Jade Chismar, Michele Okamura, Connor Sugasawara. Fourth row: Chloe Loughridge, Ryan Park, Ye Seol Woo, Clarise Huang, Lee Horinouchi. Fifth row: Max Moonier, David Imig, Dean Sadaoka, Tesuto Nagashima, Jaesun Lee. Sixth row: Sean Uyeno, Cole Okuno, Korben Wong, Carl Bell, Rina Nagashima. Not pictured: Ian Chin.

“This is the most semifinalists we’ve ever had in one class,” Punahou President Jim Scott ’70 said to the group of students gathered in Sullivan Boardroom for the announcement. “We are happy for you to get the recognition for the hard work you put in. You are incredible students and members of your class,” added Deane Salter ’98, senior class dean. “We also want to recognize you for your big hearts,” said Erin Wilkerson ’89 Maretzki, fellow senior class dean.

Semifinalists may apply to become a finalist in the program by undergoing a rigorous application process that includes an endorsement from a high-school official, a written essay and further achievement on standardized tests. The students must also submit a history of their academic records, participation in community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and/or awards received.

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