Single senior named National Merit Scholar Semifinalist


Katherine Williams

National Merit Scholar Semifinalist Lisa Yang poses with her school supplies.

By Arien Roman Rojas, Staff writer

Senior Lisa Yang was the only Lawrence High Lion chosen as a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist.

Next spring, Yang has the opportunity to become a finalist and win a $2,500 scholarship as part of the prestigious program.

“It can potentially pay for my college, so that’s really good,” Yang said. “It’s like one thing that’s checked off my list that I don’t really have to worry about as much.”

To select its scholars, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation looks at PSAT scores from 1.6 million entrants and chooses 50,000 for recognition. Among those honored were Yang and senior Amelia Vasquez, who was named a commended student. Yang reached the next level to be one of about 16,000 semifinalists. About 15,000 will become finalists.

Qualifying to be a semifinalist may be a rare feat, but it was not Yang’s main focus while taking the PSAT.

“It wasn’t necessarily something that I was working for, but it was also something that I sort of knew about in the background,” Yang said. “I didn’t focus on it specifically.”

Yang attributed much of her success to the adults in her life.

“In school my teachers have always pushed me to study hard for stuff and do well on tests,” Yang said.

Yang’s teachers and counselor said they weren’t surprised by her success.

“I think if you were to tell me that a handful of students from this senior class got it, Lisa would absolutely be in that list, if I had to guess,” said Kelsey Buek, Yang’s counselor.

Yang may not be sure where she is going to college or what she will study, but as anyone who knows Yang can tell you, great things are expected.

“She truly has the potential to do whatever she sets her mind to,” calculus teacher Matthew Ellis said. “As for our future, I know that we at LHS will miss her greatly.”