23 Arcadia High Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists


Arcadia High School has had another impressive showing in the National Merit Scholarship program, with 23 Arcadia High seniors distinguished as 2019 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. Joining a group of students that represents less than one percent of high school seniors across the country, these academically adept students have an opportunity to compete for nearly 7,500 National Merit Scholarships that will be awarded next spring and are collectively worth more than $31 million.

Over 1.6 million juniors from 22,000 high schools vied for entrance into the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program, with close to 16,000 students chosen as semifinalists. Each year, the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) serves an initial screen of program applicants.

“I took a popular prep course for the regular SAT the summer before my junior year, but I believe that it was my Arcadia High School studies that helped immensely,” shared Arcadia High School senior and National Merit Semifinalist Estelle Hooper. “Really, my achievement is attributed to my hardworking classmates and teachers,” said Hooper, who explained that she decided to register for the PSAT only after the encouragement she received from her peers.

Some high schools have less than a handful of seniors accepted into this program each school year. In the past 25 years, Arcadia High has had over 600 students named as National Merit Semifinalists, with an average of over 20 students accepted into the program each year.

“Our consistent representation in this program is a testament to the incredible teaching strategies implemented in classrooms throughout our district,” said Arcadia Unified School District Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall. “Our teachers truly help students imagine, inquire, and inspire, sparking students to have a relationship with learning that not only prepares them for success in high school but will serve them for years to come.”


The nationwide pool of semifinalists includes entrants who score highest on the PSAT in each state, with the number of semifinalists in a state proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. Approximately 15,000 students in the program will advance as finalists and will be notified of this designation in February 2019. On average, over 95% of Arcadia High semifinalists make it the finalist phase of this program.

Arcadia High School was recently ranked in the top 1% of public high schools in the nation by Niche.com. Its Class of 2018 saw a 100% graduation rate. The home of the Apaches has also been distinguished 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 Ivy League schools and 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.

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

Ailin Atasoy, Geoffrey L. Basinger, Margaret Chang, Jessie J. Chen, Lucia S. Cheng, Dean A. Frame, Estelle H. Hooper, Michael Huang, Victor W. Huang, Jason Ke, Michelle A. Liang, Isabella B. Liu, Ivan Y. Luu, Kelvin L. Maung, Grace N. Mohandoss, Jennifer Qi, William Shue, Anusha Silla, John M. Song, Kevin Tan, Ryan Wang, Sean Ye, and Gabriela Z. Yu.