25 Arcadia High Students Named National Merit Semifinalists


Arcadia High 2019 National Merit Semifinalists

Arcadia High's 25 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists proudly hold their notification letters


Another year and another impressive Arcadia High showing in the National Merit Scholarship competition with 25 Arcadia High students named as 2020 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. Arcadia High is the leader of all Los Angeles County high schools with the most students named to this year’s semifinalist cohort.

While some high schools have less than a handful of students or no students accepted into the National Merit Scholarship program each year, over the past 26 years, Arcadia High has had an annual average of 20 students admitted into this prestigious program. 

Arcadia High’s 25 astute Apache semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of high school seniors across the nation who now have the opportunity to vie for a share of 7,600 scholarships that are collectively worth more than $31 million.

In order to qualify for entry into the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s acclaimed academic competition, these Arcadia High students, during their junior year of high school, joined fellow 11th-graders from nearly 21,000 high schools across the country in taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest-scoring students from each state serve as the pool of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. 

“I was surprised and ecstatic,” shared National Merit Semifinalist and Arcadia High senior Sandi Khine on her reaction to the announcement.

“While there is an element of luck involved,” explained Khine when asked what factors she believed played a role in her success on the PSAT, “in addition to a summer SAT course that I was fortunate to be able to take, the critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management skills that the PSAT required were well incorporated in the classes I have taken at Arcadia High. Adding in the support and encouragement I received from teachers, staff, and advisors, I had the confidence to not worry about the result and to just put my best effort in.” 

“Having started my career 15 years ago with Arcadia Unified as a principal for Arcadia High, it’s humbling to see our students’ continued success in this program,” said Arcadia Unified Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall. “We are a district with one comprehensive high school, meaning that the success of our high school students is created years before they enter Arcadia High and continues when they become Apaches because of the vertical, collaborative efforts of our incredible team of staff, students, and families.”

Of the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, 15,000 are anticipated to advance to the finalist phase of the program. In order to be considered for a finalist spot, semifinalists must complete an application, which includes providing an SAT score, essay, and letter of recommendation from a high school official. Students’ academic records, community service, participation in school activities, leadership roles, employment, and other awards and honors are also taken into account. Typically, over 95 percent of Arcadia High semifinalists continue on as finalists in this program. Scholarship winners will be announced in news releases beginning in April 2020. 

Arcadia High School was recently ranked in the top 1 percent of best public high schools in the nation by Niche.com. Its Class of 2018 saw a 100 percent graduation rate. The Home of the Apaches has also been distinguished as a U.S. News and World Report Gold Medal School three times, an honor bestowed on less than 3 percent of the more than 19,000 schools in the country. Similarly, Newsweek named Arcadia High on its Top Public High Schools in America list. Arcadia High graduates are represented in every Ivy League school and in top universities across the country. Likewise, for two consecutive years, the Arcadia Unified School District has been named on the College Board’s Annual AP® District Honor Roll. For additional details on the National Merit Scholarship program, visit http://nationalmerit.org, and for information about Arcadia High School, visit https://ahs.ausd.net/.

Arcadia High School National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists: (Alphabetical order by last name)

Filbert Aung, Samuel D. Berkun, Jason M. Chan, Ryan Y. Chan, Albert Chang, Markis J. Cheng, Stephen X. Dai, Kenneth B. Hsu, David Ju, Sandi W. Khine, Robin Lee, William J. Lee, Kayli S. Mak, Ajay M. Manneth, Michael J. Shi, Michelle E. Tan, Wesley Tong, Evan T. Tsuji, Brandon Vo, Tingxuan Wang, Braden M. Wong, Anabell M. Xu, Elizabeth Y. Yeh, Andre Yeung, David X. Zhu.