Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists


Marist High School Principal Dr. Kathryn Baal recently announced that seniors Colin Dillon (far left) and Thomas Kavanaugh were named National Merit Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in Evanston, Ill. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

Both students reside in Oak Lawn and graduated from St. Catherine of Alexandria School.

While at Marist, Dillon has participated in math team, academic team, National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, student council, and the tennis program. For college, he is considering the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University. He will likely pursue an engineering-related field.

Kavanaugh is the captain of cross-country team and also competes in track and field in the spring. He is a member of the math team. His list of potential colleges includes Marquette University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Purdue University. He plans to major in finance or engineering.

More than 1.5 million entrants are screened each year by the National Merit Scholarship Program after taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). There are approximately 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists in the U.S. and they can advance to Finalist standing by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

Marist_Jack_VulichAdditionally, senior Jack Vulich was recognized as a National Merit Commended Student. Vulich, who is a graduate of St. Linus, has been involved in cross country, wrestling, math team, student ambassadors, National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society. He is interested in the University of Illinois, Purdue University, and University of Michigan, where he is considering studying electrical engineering. 

Commended Students represent the top 3-4% of scorers nationally on the PSAT. There are only 34,000 students who earn this distinction out of a pool of 1.5 million.