Parkland School Board recognizes semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship


Eight students from Parkland High School qualified as semifinalists for the 2018 National Merit Scholarship program.

The students were among the semifinalists nationwide who scored well on the PSAT tests and will be eligible to submit applications for the chance to become finalists, according to PHS Principal Jim Moniz, who introduced the students at Tuesday's Parkland School Board meeting.

Moniz said that about 1.6 million students nationwide took the PSATs, of whom 16,000 became semifinalists and 34,000 became commended students. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will be offering 7,500 scholarships worth more than $33 million next spring, Moniz said.

The competition was open to all U.S. high school students.

The Parkland semifinalists were: Nur Bookwala, Natalie Britton, Roy Ghosh, Sumedha Kanthamneni, Aryaman Khandelwal, Rohith Kumar, Habeeb Salau and Sara Zdancewicz.

Parkland's 11 commended students were: Nina Cao, Jonah Grob, Alex Hill, Nina Johnson, Matthew Lytle, James McDonald, Vikram Pandian, Sung Min Park, Seungkwon Son, Sean Thorpe and Parker Herman.

School board member David Hein said that he appreciated the "dedication and hard work" of the students.

Board members Barry Long and Mark Hanichak, who will soon be leaving the board after nearly a decade of service, were recognized by their colleagues at the meeting.

Superintendent Richard Sniscak thanked Long and Hanichak for "faithfully serving this community" and being a part of various improvements in the district over the years, such as the implementation of full-day kindergarten and the opening of Jaindl Elementary School.

Board President David Kennedy said "we will miss you both."

Board member Jef Reyburn said he appreciated Long and Hanichak's "mentorship" and the "diversity of opinion" they provided.

Hanichak thanked his family, fellow board members and administrators. Hanichak said that he had "a good run, and I will miss you all."

Long said that he found it "a great privilege" to serve on the board.

"I will miss this board. I truly will," he said.