Class of 2021 National Merit Semifinalists

15 Robinson students were named National Merit semifinalists.

Ella Wertz, News and Features Editor

The National Merit Scholarship is based off of high school students’ PSAT/NMSQT score. The organization offers a variety of scholarships, including $2500 National Merit Scholarships, corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards or college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

Recently, 15 Robinson students were named National Merit semifinalists: Garrett Beede, Sophia Chen, Annika Cruz, Trey Gould, Shea Greenberg, Brennan Hinson, Leif Holmstrom, Rohan Joshi, Katharine Kemp, Shota Konno, Angelina Krinos, Maya Razdan, Olivia Roberts, Levy Truong and John Weachter. Fifteen students is the most semifinalists that Robinson has ever had and all of the public high schools in Tampa Bay.

“I felt proud knowing that I was truly part of a community where there are so many people committed to learning and coming from such a small school yet still achieving the most semi finalists was just a testament to how motivated our school really is,” Brennan Hinson (’21) said. 

Students become National Merit semifinalists by scoring in the top 1% on the PSAT/NMSQT. According to, “about 16,000, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers” qualify as semifinalists for the scholarship.

Earning National Merit doesn’t come easily. Students have to work hard to get their scores up in order to attempt to meet the requirements.

“I took practice tests every weekend for like a couple months leading up to the PSAT and I did a ton of math and English practice in these workbooks I had,” Katie Kemp (’21) said.

Many of the students that entered into the National Merit competition had been exposed to the SAT early on in their education, making them more comfortable with the content.

“Well I didn’t study specifically for the PSAT beyond the Khan Academy sets assigned in Difed’s [the 10th grade IB English teacher’s] class, but I’d already taken the full SAT in 7th for the Duke Talent Search [also referred to as Duke TIP],” Angelina Krinos (’21) said.

The National Merit finalists will be named in February. Fifteen thousand of the semifinalists will be chosen as finalists. After the finalists are selected, winners will be selected based on their academic accomplishments and skills.