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Meet this year’s National Merit Semifinalists from Tampa Bay

National Merit semifinalists are considered “the nation’s scholastic champions,” according to the nonprofit National Merit Scholarship Corp. [Times (2014)]
National Merit semifinalists are considered “the nation’s scholastic champions,” according to the nonprofit National Merit Scholarship Corp. [Times (2014)]
Published Sep. 14, 2018|Updated Sep. 14, 2018

A total of 126 students from around the Tampa Bay area were announced this week as semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program. They were among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide.

Taken together, they are said to represent the top 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors — what the National Merit organization calls "the nation's scholastic champions."

To put the 126 local semifinalists in perspective, they represent just a fraction of the senior class in Tampa Bay. Last year there were nearly 29,000 seniors in just the region's public high schools.

Across the country, the newly named semifinalists will compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth a total of more than $31 million to be offered in the spring. Among the factors considered are a student's academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, other honors and awards and SAT scores. Students also must be recommended by a high school official and write an essay.

The vast majority of semifinalists will be named finalists in February. Here is a list of the local semifinalists:


Berkeley Prep

Benjamin A. Graham, Dev Kapadia, Bradley S. Kolar, Dane M. Kudla, Jalen I. Li, Alexandra N. Park, Alexander J. Weinstock

Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High

Kendall P. Hartland

Cambridge Christian

Zackary W. Rosso

Carrollwood Day School

Ammar S. Ali

Gaither High

Olivia C. Ratliff, Alani M. Seaman

Hillsborough High

Ankit Balaraju, Danny Z. Chen, Tim Cui


Grace D. Bourie

Jesuit High

Tristan Cole, Conor Favret, Brendan Fisher, Christopher Gold, Andrew Hanna, Mitchell Johnson, Kegan Lovell, Nicholas Muir, Richard Nuss, Thomas Perez, Richard Petitt, Sebastian Torres

King High

Ishan B. Chillikatil, Noah J. D'Amico, Isha C. Harshe, William L. He, Anagha Hesaraghatta, Praneeth S. Kolli, Rohan S. Kommireddy, Timothy A. Lende, Rebecca Lin, Thushar Mahesh, Shray Mehra, Andrew Paul, Sohum V. Shah, Padma Vasanthakumar, Sarah K. Yo

Lennard High

Dylan E. Radley

Middleton High

Laurel C. Dodson, Truman V. Hoang, Anmol Mittal, Arnav Pangasa

Newsome High

Caitlin R. Camm, Linnea F. Helenius, Ryan J. Holling, Jordan A. McMillan, Katherine R. Metheny, Maren A. Pelletier

Plant High

Zachary W. Brown, Dean A. Criser, Raelyn D. Hoskinson, Alyssa M. Nagle, Amy L. Pham, Aidan N. Reilly, Anna K. Williams, Calvin K. Yang

Robinson High

Jonah L. Chad, Vanessa M. Fermin, Annika F. Holmstrom, Anders Johnson, Catherine Y. Liu, Carly E. Long

Sickles High

Alexandra J. Bennion

Strawberry Crest High

Dean E. Alvarez, Gabriel J. Brosula, Raphael J. Brosula, Victoria L. Clark, Justin M. Delgado, Robert E. Haywood, Saketh Katta, Daniel S. Lewis, Vishnu D. Premkanth, Rythvic T. Rau, Krishna M. Vekariya

Wharton High

Victoria C. Bell


Calvary Christian High

Matthew T. Palmer

Canterbury School of Florida

Georgia B. Brousseau

Countryside High

Shannon Cousineau, Charlie Nguyen

Dixie Hollins High

Eoin R. Olswold

East Lake High

Jessica Bennett, Ashwin Ganesh, Nathaniel Shirer

Lakewood High

Nathan S. Hamilton, William D. Kline, Isabel L. Rask

Largo High

William G. Black, Connor J. Mann, Amy T. Radwan

Palm Harbor University High

Hailey J. Batista, Zoe O. Brown, Chloe P. Buck, Sophia Chen, Kyle D. Nguyen, Thomas A. Pepas, Alexandra B. Shanabrook, Anuj Som

Seminole High

Julia C. Doyle

Shorecrest Preparatory

Randolph J. Ayers, William R. Hess, Aidan K. Samuelson

St. Petersburg Collegiate

Erin A. Murphy

St. Petersburg High

Alexandra N. Debure, Catherine Lee


Academy at the Lakes

Roshan Warman

Gulf High

Eugenia Alexeyeva, Michael Qi, Sean G. Rent

Land O'Lakes High

Armen Brotgandel, Edward Brotgandel, Komal Handoo, Summer R. Wylie

Wiregrass Ranch High

Chin-Chin Choi, Nalin Mehra, Neil Rupani


Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High

Hannah E. Holliday

Springstead High

Antonio Belavilas, Jonathan C. Cunningham, Dustin Faulkenberry

Weeki Wachee High

Cynthia M. Ross


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