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Parkside Senior Sara Sadjadi Named National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist

National Merit Semifinalist


Wicomico County Public Schools is proud to congratulate Sara Sadjadi, a senior at Parkside High School, for being named a semifinalist in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. This program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists, including Sadjadi, in this school year’s National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered in the spring.

“Sara is an outstanding student and an even better person,” said Kimberly Pinhey, Principal of Parkside High School. “She has participated in Drama Club, VPA Performance Theatre, and Symphonic Band, and also made it to Global Finals with her Destination Imagination team. Sara exemplifies what it means to be a part of the RamFam. We are extremely proud of Sara and her accomplishments and look forward to all she will accomplish in the future.”

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship Award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing in February, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship and earn the title of National Merit Scholar. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay.