Every year approximately 1.5 million high school juniors take the the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes students who score among the top 3% (50,000). 34,000 are recognized as Commended Students; the top 1% (16,000) are selected as Semi-Finalists, competing for 15,000 Finalist scholarship awards. Seniors advancing to the Finalist level must have an outstanding academic record throughout their high school years, receive their principal’s recommendation, write an essay and achieve substantial SAT scores. National Merit Scholars (8300) winning scholarship awards from the $34 million pool will be named in the Spring.

This year, the Santa Cruz City Schools scholars of the Class of 2012 have achieved this distinction in record numbers. From our three comprehensive high schools, Harbor High, Soquel High and Santa Cruz High, 23 students of the 700 student graduating class have earned scores in the top 3% of their peers nationwide. Santa Cruz High, with 13 honored students, counts over 5% of their graduating class among the top 3% in the nation. Given that a subset of students take the PSAT, the number of our high-scoring seniors ranking among the top in the nation is significant, approaching 10% of the graduating class.

Achievement at this level in these numbers is testament to our hard-working students who come from our diverse neighborhoods to schools where they are challenged and supported to reach their full potential. As we recognize each student individually, we also acknowledge the community of educators and parents who work in partnership within our excellent schools to maintain outstanding programs that help all of our students succeed.

This week, the class of 2013 will take the PSAT. As part of the Santa Cruz City Schools district-wide effort to promote a college-going culture, next year all juniors (class of 2014) will be encouraged to take the test, with need-based funding made available to cover test fees.

Harbor High School

Semi-Finalist (top 1%)

  • Zachary Dunn

Commended Students (top 3%)

  • Yosef Cohen
  • Chase Cummings
  • Anais Moutarlier
  • Marissa Parker
  • Dylan Robbins-Kelley
  • Trevor Schwertseger

Santa Cruz High School

Semi-Finalist (top 1%), National Achievement Student

  • Akosua Busia

National Hispanic Recognition Program, Commended Student

  • Cibel Quinteros Baumgart

Commended Students (top 3%)

  • Caitlynn Birch
  • Riley Mallory
  • Miranda Mead-Newton
  • Christine Mikeska
  • Daniel Peterson
  • Scott Shepard
  • Anne Soares
  • Benjamin Souvey
  • Sebastian Stock
  • Alanna Williams
  • Truman Williams

Soquel High School

Semi-Finalist (top 1%)

  • Clara Hartman

Commended Students (top 3%)

  • Leia Alex
  • Alexandra Quinn

Alternative Family Education

Commended Student (top 3%)

  • Milo Barisof

Scholars of the Class of 2012: We salute you for your accomplishments!