130 Tampa Bay seniors are National Merit Semifinalists this year

The list includes students from three dozen high schools across the region. They will compete for college scholarships in the spring.
Dozens of Tampa Bay area seniors on their way to graduation this spring have been named National Merit Semifinalists for 2022. Many will become finalists later this school year and will qualify for college scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship program.
Dozens of Tampa Bay area seniors on their way to graduation this spring have been named National Merit Semifinalists for 2022. Many will become finalists later this school year and will qualify for college scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship program.
Published Sept. 17, 2021|Updated Sept. 17, 2021

The Tampa Bay area this year is home to 130 National Merit Semifinalists from 35 high schools, according to a list released this week by the National Merit Scholarship program.

Four schools had 10 or more semifinalists: King, Middleton and Plant high schools in Hillsborough County and Palm Harbor University High in Pinellas County.

The students are among 16,000 high school seniors nationwide competing for about 7,500 scholarships worth nearly $30 million to be offered in the spring.

The process began in 2020 when about 1.5 million students took the Preliminary SAT as juniors. Their scores were among the highest in their respective states. And, as semifinalists, they represent less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the U.S.

In February, 15,000 of the semifinalists will be named finalists, half of whom will be eligible for Merit Scholarships through the program.

Among the factors considered in the scholarship selection are a student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, other honors and awards, and SAT or ACT scores. Students also must be recommended by a high school official and write an essay.

Here is a list of the local semifinalists:


Academy of the Holy Names: Laura C. Jung and Grace K. Odmark

Alonso High: Joud M. Elsherbiny

Bell Creek Academy: Lucas A. Nardin

Berkeley Preparatory School: Liam M. Andrews, Mason M. Doyle, Aleena Farooq, Penelope Grapsas, Dhruv K. Kapadia, Robert M. Muldrow, John A. Reilly, Ryan Shaw and Sundee T. Win

Blake High: Ethan M. Stephanis

Carrollwood Day School: Samantha G. Asmar, Aryan K. Banerjee, Justin C. Deboskey, Ashna N. Patel, Suhani M. Shah and Gabriel S. Slater

Gaither High: Devin T. Connerney

Hillsborough High: Dylan M. Chuang, Aahan Dwivedi, Lauren E. Novorska, Marc Taylor and Kelvin C. Wang

Jesuit High: Benjamin A. Deakin, Avery Hames, Logan A. Kant, Trevor M. Powers, Zachary M. Reich, Ethan R. Tiejema and Andrew B. Wilson

King High: Nitya Anne, Jing Cao, Tushar S. Gona, Angela Jiang, Gavin A. Johnston, Nitya S. Kodali, Ishita Mishra, Astha A. Patel, Anya K. Patidar, Aaryan Srivastava, Ashwatha Suresh, David L. Tu, Lily Viet, Rahul Vijay and Satvik Vippatoori

Middleton High: Shriya R. Buragadda, Charley X. Cheng, Arin Gupta, Aaron J. Hazelwood, Keval K. Kataria, Rashi Lakhotia, Leo P. Melson, Ria Nayar, Akhilesh Peddu, Scott L. Sheridan, Ananya V. Sista and Estella Tu

Newsome High: Cody T. Basquill, Ayotuntosimi O. Loye and Anika R. Shah

Plant City High: Sarah G. Harvester

Plant High: Madeline P. Browy, John D. Cellitti, Amy S. Cha, Caitlin E. Hagney, Lauren G. Lampinen, Kallyn J. McKinney, Rowan M. Oflanagan, Jhagadeswara Rajavarapu, Arlie J. Rubin and Hayden K. Stern

Robinson High: Carter W. Attardo, Aidan Bai, Chloe S. Bailey, Emily C. Brenning, Nathan V. Pham and Priya L. Sambasivan

Sickles High: Michael W. Duncan

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Steinbrenner High: Meryl A. Bentz, Andrea L. Burgess, Erin S. Kim and Vivian Rao

Strawberry Crest High: Emily A. Chacko, Suhas R. Muthineni, Nishant V. Nagururu, Rishabh D. Thakkar and Ian A. Wells

Tampa Preparatory School: Satarie E. Bennett, Mackenzie K. Capella, Ryan R. Kelly and Abigail C. Mansour

Universal Academy of Florida: Anika Riazudeen

• • •


Clearwater Central Catholic: Taylor Galloway

East Lake High: Sandhya Ganesh

Largo High: Nathan W. Bailey, Evelyn S. Colon and William J. Zhu

Osceola Fundamental High: Aaron J. Rubaii

Palm Harbor University High: Krish Asknani, Sherry M. Habib, Sylwia Kwasny, Angela N. Li, Cole Mackey, Brooke A. Reed, Kaitlin A. Ryan, Hailey A. Sherrell, Andrew J. Staab, Hannah G. Tan and Jianing Xue

Shorecrest Preparatory School: Christian G. Bepler and Emily C. Forney

St. Petersburg Collegiate High: Cade A. Finney

St. Petersburg Collegiate High-Tarpon Springs: Kai A. Rubach

St. Petersburg High: Faith A. Jones, Huy M. Nguyen, Dylan Perez, Arabella Readey, Kasha A. Tyranski and Tiffany L. Zhou

• • •


Land O’Lakes High: Sohan Malladi and Daniel J. Urbonas

Pasco High: Kenneth P. Chew

Mitchell High: Leonid Alexeyev and Jacob Bolton

Sunlake High: Louis E. Cohen

Wiregrass Ranch High: Eric T. Reichard

• • •


Springstead High: Lily J. Achenbach

• • •

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