The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year, and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.
In early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state.
This year, of Nebraska's 114 semifinalists, five Brownell Talbot seniors made the cut: Lily Haas, '20, Brianna Liu, '20, Allison Luo, '20, Luke Miles, '20, and Ben Su, '20.
Lily Haas, '20, is active in quiz bowl and robotics. Her hobbies include knitting and sports photography. She is a Girl Scout Honor Guard Flight Commander and has earned gold medals on the National Latin Exam for four consecutive years.
Brianna Liu, '20, competes in speech, competition math, and tennis. She was the 2018 Girls Tennis #1 Singles State Champion and 2019 Girls Tennis #1 Singles State Runner-Up. Brianna is also active in yearbook, National Honor Society, and Student Council.
Allison Luo, '20, plays piano and violin. She spends a lot of her time volunteering. When not lending a helping hand, she works on perfecting her craft of drawing.
Luke Miles, '20, is a well-known performer around BT - he participates in Pirate Radio, band, choir, and pep band. He is also a skilled thespian, having earned the lead roles in last year's spring play, Whirligig, and this year's fall musical, Catch Me If You Can. He likes to travel and read nonfiction works about the science of the brain.
Ben Su, '20, enjoys learning about biology and zoology. He is an active member of Pirate Radio, choir, and band. He performed as part of the orchestra for last fall's musical, Cinderella. Ben also competes on the quiz bowl team.
Congratulations to our semifinalists!
To become a finalist, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application that includes each student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.
Scholarship winners will be announced next spring and summer.