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Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

Two Shorewood students awarded in NMSC

Sonia Bendre, Robert Gronert semifinalists in merit scholarship
courtesy Shorewood School District

Out of more than 16,000 students nationwide, two Shorewood seniors, Sonia Bendre and Robert Gronert, have been awarded the status of National Merit Semifinalist in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship competition. 

Every year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recognizes the top scorers, less than one percent of students who take the PSAT, as semifinalists in a competition for college financial aid. The top 7,140 of the competition’s finalists will receive more than $28 million in scholarships. Around 95% of semifinalists will be awarded finalist status after their transcripts have been reviewed. 

In addition to the financial aid provided by the NMSC, many colleges offer scholarships to applicants who were recognized as semifinalists or finalists. Both public and private universities offer such scholarships.

“It’s good to have on your college resume…and I’m surprised by how much financial aid you can get from that one thing,” Gronert said. 

Bendre credits her success to completing practice tests, studying using online free SAT prep and preparing for the test early. 

“I used the Khan Academy SAT prep which is free on the website and helped me a lot to study,” Bendre said. “I would say, as soon as you can, you want to be taking full length tests then so you can gauge where you need to grow…I know a lot of people who didn’t have the chance to be able to start at all, so starting early was helpful for me.” 

Gronert emphasizes the importance of taking a wide variety of classes as preparation for the PSAT. He also recommends learning about different topics in one’s spare time.

“I would say, in your free time, be curious; try and learn,” Gronert said. “Take a lot of good courses, and also take some math and science, and you’ll do pretty well… the English parts are just kind of knowing how to take standardized tests.”

Both semifinalists acknowledge how classes they’ve taken at Shorewood helped them attain semifinalist status. 

I think you would definitely be able to do well taking the standard curriculum,” Bendre said. “I don’t think there was anything on the PSAT that wasn’t in [it].”

Principal Tim Kenney believes that classes and faculty have contributed to Bendre and Gronert’s success in the National Merit competition. 

“From a general education standpoint since they started here freshman year I would like to say they’ve had excellent instruction and support in classes to help them get to where they are now.” said Kenney.

Kenney also notes the importance of having National Merit semifinalists as a way to highlight the quality of the Shorewood School District. 

“I think that for prospective families that are considering moving to Shorewood…it would be yet another thing to get [them] to take a look at us,” Kenney said.

Additionally, around 34,000 students who take the PSAT are recognized as Commended Students, four of whom attend Shorewood High School. They are seniors Adelais Burkholder, Samuel Diliberti, Amelia Gronert, and Amelia Zitoun.

Bendre and Gronert will be notified of whether or not they advanced in the competition in early February 2024. If they reach finalist status, they will then be eligible for scholarships provided by the NMSC and other potential scholarships from colleges to which they have applied.