All-American Academic Weapons

After taking the PSAT in the fall of their Junior year, this September, 7 Malvern Seniors found they had earned National Merit Scholar recognition, and 2 of them qualified as semi-finalists.


Steven Getsie, Managing Editor

After taking the PSAT last fall, the Class of 2023 had 7 students achieve a score ranking in the top 3% of the entire country. Alex Daoud, Patrick Mears, Bryce Pippen, Jack Rosenberger, and Logan Kelley were named Commended Scholars; Billy Yacovelli and the Friars Lanterns’ very own Aidan Naughton were named Semifinalist, achieving a score in the top 1% of the country. 


With recognition dependent on how students all around the country scored, some students didn’t know if their score was quite high enough to earn recognition from the National Merit Scholarship program. 


“ [After] talking to a couple of other guys, Alex Daoud and I got the exact same score on the PSAT. We both thought we were going to be hit or miss whether or not we were going to get it. I was optimistic but getting it definitely was kind of a surprise and it definitely felt really, really, good,” Mears said. 


As the PSAT sneaks up on most, these students had done a variety of things to prepare for the test.


“All the hard work that I had done studying, working at my math and English, taking practice tests before. Just it all paying off in the end and getting a good score on the PSAT is just very, very rewarding,” Rosenberger said.


“I really think the coursework that I’ve been taking here [at Malvern] all of high school helped prepare me for the PSAT,” Kelley said.


These students are all very dedicated in the classroom and have been over their entire high school careers, and getting recognition for that on the national level is very meaningful to them. 


“I think the most meaningful part is getting that validation that my hard work did pay off. All guys with this honor, we put a lot of work into our academics and really pride ourselves on that. So I think just getting that validation that we are some of the best in the country, I think it’s really meaningful. Every once in a while, you know, you start to forget that the hard work you’re putting in is doing something. So it’s just nice to be reminded that what you’re doing is getting results and it’s worth it,” Yacovelli said. 


Only 3% of students in the entire country will have any type of this honor on their applications, and it could be a key part of their applications.


“I’m definitely putting it on my college apps. Hopefully, that’ll give me an extra push if I’m neck and neck with another applicant, maybe [this honor] will get me in,” Rosenberger said. 


Being a semi-finalist not only gives you that honors for your application, but it also opens up the avenue to earn scholarship money.


“The biggest thing about being a national merit [semi-finalist] is all the scholarship opportunities that it opens up for you. And as we all know, college is only getting more and more expensive by the year. These scholarship opportunities are now opened up to me and just seeing what money I can get,” Yacovelli said. 


The National Merit Scholarship program offers scholarships that they award based on the application you submit to them. However, that’s not the only way you can get a scholarship.


“If a company sees your application, and they think your skills match up with what their company is they’ll give you a scholarship. Since I’m a Robotics, Engineering guy there might be a STEM company that’s interested in me and decides to give me a National Merit Scholarship,” Yacovelli said. 


With Engineering, neuroscience, and economic interests, the National Merit Scholarship recipients have huge career ambitions and have incredibly competitive schools at the top of their lists like UVA, Vanderbilt, Penn, Boston College, and Notre Dame. No doubt, all of these young men are going to be highly successful in their lives and careers beyond Malvern Prep.