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Two Seniors Named National Merit Finalists

RICHMOND -- El Cerrito High School senior Jae-An Wang and Pinole Valley High School senior Chris Tan began the school year as semifinalists in the prestigious National Merit 61st annual Scholarship Program. And hopefully when the school year ends in June, Tan and Wang will be National Merit scholarship winners.

Tan and Wang were notified in late February that they were National Merit finalists, an honored achieved by just 15,000 students out of a pool of 1.6 million students nationwide. Starting in April, the National Merit will begin notifying finalists if they are college scholarship recipients.

"Mr. Tan and Mr. Wang are great examples of what is possible for all the students in our district," Superintendent Matthew Duffy said. "Being named a National Merit finalist is a great accomplishment and should be celebrated not only by Mr. Tan and Mr. Wang but by their parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators that have supported them along their educational journey."

Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. The Merit Scholarship process includes: the student’s academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

"I was pretty elated when I found out that I qualified as a finalist," Tan said. "I'm still waiting and hoping it will translate into a scholarship, but I'm really happy that I was able to make it this far."

Both Wang and Tan were notified by their principals, Kibby Kleiman at Pinole Valley and Edith Jordan-McCormick at El Cerrito.

"I am grateful and excited," Wang said. "I am waiting to see if I am awarded one of the scholarships."

To read more about Tan and Wang, please click here.