Five Coronado students named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists


Photo / Jordyn Davis

The five students are the only ones in the El Paso Independent School District to receive the honor, and all come from Coronado.

Jordyn Davis, Writer

The National Merit Scholarship has announced five students that have made it into the semifinalist round. On Sept. 15, Christian Lomarquez, Christina Li, Minseo Kim, Samuel Kligman, and Luke Miller were among the 16,000 semifinalists named by the organization.

“It’s actually an almost enlightening experience. I feel very grateful being a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. I didn’t even expect that I was going to be one…I felt like I wasn’t good enough to actually get the NMSQT scholarship,” said Christian Lomarquez.

Another semifinalist that was shocked to receive the good news was Samuel Kligman.

“It feels good. I’ve worked really hard and improved my scores over the years. I was a little surprised when I found out. I’m very happy, very pleased,” Kligman said.

These five semifinalists are the only EPISD students to receive this honor. Each student has incorporated intense studying sessions to accommodate high test scores. Like many test-takers, these students have been studying primarily for the SAT. However, each student has their own way of studying. For example, Christina Li incorporates Khan Academy, a free SAT practice site, into her routine.

“I did look at Khan Academy. I think it’s helpful because Khan Academy lays out what will be tested, so I looked through Khan Academy to see what kinds of topics would be tested and if there’s a specific area that I was unclear about. Other than the practice tests given to us by the College Board for the official PSAT, those practice tests and Khan Academy were the study materials I used,” Li said.

These five semifinalists have dreams of their own. Scoring extremely high on the SAT is a stepping stone for success. Luke Miller shared his opinions on standardized tests, like the PSAT.

“Although I might be a little biased, I do understand that they are not the most accurate metric of intelligence in academics. I do think that they could provide some valuable insight into a student’s academic preparedness for college. I think the SAT is actually a better method than the ACT because the ACT measures more of the specifics of what you’re taught…the SAT is more problem-solving… Even with as many tutors as you have, I think the SAT is a lot more based on your general knowledge,” Miller said.

For many students, scoring well on the PSAT and SAT is a stepping stone for success. Many students rely on their scores to receive scholarships to attend their dream schools. Another semifinalist, Minseo Kim, shared his goals.

“My major is going to be artificial intelligence, My dream college is MIT or Stanford. It’s very difficult to choose between the two,” Kim said.

Minseo Kim, Luke Miller, Christina Li, Samuel Kligman, and Christian Lomarquez have all exhibited academic excellence with their high PSAT scores. They are the only five students from the EPISD district to receive this honor.