Many NCFL students named National Merit semi-finalists

Alachua County Public Schools had the largest number of semi-finalists in the region at 35.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Fifty North Central Florida students have earned semi-finalist status in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship program, placing them among the top 1% of high school seniors nationwide.

Students must earn high scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) to qualify. Of the about 1.5 million students who take the exam each year, about 16,000 are named semi-finalists.

Alachua County Public Schools had the largest number of semi-finalists in the region at 35.

“I congratulate the students who have been named semi-finalists,” said Alachua County Superintendent Shane Andrew. “They’ve made their schools, their teachers and certainly their families very proud.”

The students now have the opportunity to earn finalist status by scoring high on the SAT and submitting an application highlighting their other academic achievements, awards, and honors. They will also need to submit teacher recommendations and write an essay. Students will learn in early spring of 2024 if they have reached finalist status.


  • Buchholz High School: Megan Chen; Richard Feng; Nolan Gao; William Guan; Noah Hunter; Max Kaplan; Melissa Li; Hailey Lin; Edison Loftus; Kelsey Morey; Peter Neubert; Sarah Rodkin; Parsa Tehranipoor; Daniel Wang; Laurie Wang; Nathan Wei; Billy Yang; Kailyn Zhai; Emmanuel Zheng
  • Eastside High School: Madeleine Gurka, Daniel Huang, Shravya Mandava, August McDaniel, Armando Rodriguez, Isaac Savin, Noah Siegel, Rachel Xu
  • Gainesville High School: Cadien Archer, Maheer Bansari, Peter Blay, Kyle Choe, Kathleen Ferrer, Ellee Guin, Carl Jury, Katelinn Kochtan
  • Oak Hall: Ann Grooms, Anish Veerapaneni
  • St. Francis: Joel Drawdy, Luke Fariborzian

Lake City

  • The Blake School: Evan Vezmar


  • Homeschool: Tania Villa


  • Forest High School: Blake Barnes
  • Vanguard High School: Camille Duma, Gianna Meccia, Divyaa Nandur, Ifeoluwa Olorunlogbon, Gabriel Ribay, Rishit Shaquib, Akksayan Sivasekaran, Lamia Zaman
  • West Port High School: Eric Spiegelman

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