Four Darien High School seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.
— an announcement from Darien High School
Lily Cowles, Ellen Gaaserud, Katherine Kahn and William Moles are this year’s DHS semifinalists.
“We are so proud of this exceptional group of students and wish them well as the process moves forward,” said DHS Principal Ellen Dunn.
About 16,000 high school students nationwide have been recognized as National Merit semi-finalists. These academically talented students have an opportunity to continue in the program for National Merit Scholarships that will be offered next spring.
An announcement from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation said:
“These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.
“To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the “Merit Scholar” title.
Can Number of Semifinalists Be Used to Compare Schools or Communities?
A smaller number of semifinalists from Darien were named in this round than in other communities in southwestern Fairfield County, which includes some larger towns and cities (like Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk and Westport) and communities with private schools Darien students might attend (Greenwich, Stamford and New Canaan).
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announcement issued this note at the top of its announcement, which states, but doesn’t explain why it is misleading to be “using semifinalist numbers to compare high schools”:
“Caution: Using numbers of Semifinalists to compare high schools, educational systems, or states will result in erroneous conclusions. The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
“The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system, or state. For more information about the competition, please visit www.nationalmerit.org.”