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Three Students Recognized as Commended Students by the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program

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Arcangelo Iurato '21

9 November 2020


Three students have been recognized for their academic achievements in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program for their scores on the PSAT for 2020: Raima Islam '21, Elizabeth Dubov '21, and Daniel Dransfield '21. The National Merit Scholarship Program is a United States academic scholarship competition for recognition and university scholarships. 

Rains Islam; property of Yearbook "I took the PSAT's in October of last year," said Raima Islam. "I didn't think much of it. But then when I got my score back, I looked at the score cut-offs for New Jersey, and I realized my score didn't make it to win the scholarship. Months later, Ms. [Jennifer] Shue emailed me and told me that I qualified for the program."

"I got the news from multiple sources," said Daniel Dransfield. "But I believe the first person who told me was my mother, who had seen someone post their congratulations on Facebook."

Elizabeth Dubov not only received the commendation for the National Merit Scholarship, but also won the National Hispanic Recognition Program. "She was notified through a letter that was mailed to her house from College Board," said Mr. William Pantale. "She had qualified for the National Merit Scholarship for Outstanding Hispanic Students and then she won [the National Merit Scholarship]."Elizabeth Dubov; property of Yearbook

In the National Merit Scholarship Program, 50,000 of the 1.5 million students who take the PSATs are selected based on their selection index. The selection index is calculated by doubling the sum of the reading, writing, and language portion of the test, then adding the math score. Everyone who takes the PSAT receives a selection index number.

16,000 of those students become semifinalists, then 5,000 are selected as finalists and continue to compete for the National Merit Scholarship. The other 34,000 become Commended Students and receive a letter from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in commemoration of their achievement. Dubov, Islam, and Dransfield were three of that select group of Commended Students.

Daniel Dransfield; property of Yearbook "The pride I felt knowing that all the hours I spent doing school work had paid off was immeasurable," said Daniel Dransfield. "I think that it will help colleges distinguish me from other students applying to their school."

"It was really cool, because I studied so much," said Dubov. "Studying the summer before junior year really helped me. I put a lot of effort into it, which paid off. I'm happy that I got it."

The students' guidance counselors share in their enthusiasm. "I will say it is an honor to work with Raima Islam and I am so proud of her," said Mrs. Shue. "She deserves all the best in the world!"