Six BHS Seniors Named National Merit Finalists

February 28, 2024
Gabe Arakawa, Rei Brown, Cameron Zhu, Caroline Liu, Hayden McAllister, Daniel Bendersky were named National Merit Finalists for the Class of 2024. Courtesy Image

Bedford High School has announced six National Merit finalists in the BHS Class of 2024.

Gabe Arakawa, Daniel Bendersky, Rei Brown, Caroline Liu, Hayden McAllister, and Cameron Zhu, were named as finalists in the annual national academic competition that has been around since 1955. 

More than 1.3 million United States high school students enter the National Merit Scholarship program. The program qualifies the highest-scoring entrants of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) from each state that meet the eligibility to move to the application process for the semifinalist and finalist rounds. Because of the pool of talented students in the state, Massachusetts has one of the most competitive, highest achieving and rigorous eligibility cut-offs in the country. 

According to the National Merit Scholarship program, finalists and scholarship winners are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors after reviewing applications, records, and personal essays. The finalists are determined to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies out of the 1.3 million applicants. 

Bedford High School Principal Heather Galante often boasts of BHS as being “small but mighty,” and congratulates the six finalists, who represent the top 99 percent of students applying to the program at more than 20,000 high schools across the United States. 

While BHS has around 0.3 percent of the students expected to graduate in Massachusetts with the Class of 2024, the six finalists account for nearly two percent of the Massachusetts National Merit finalists (including private schools) statewide.  

Around half of the National Merit finalists are expected to receive scholarships through the program, corporate sponsors, and colleges and universities. Scholarships are announced throughout the spring.

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