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Kirkwood School District Recognizes National Merit Students

The Kirkwood School District recognized 11 seniors who were named National Merit Semifinalists and National Merit Commended Students. Pictured left to right front row:

Leah Broll, Anya Broll, Jane Dubberke and Cecilia Bartin. Pictured left to right back row:

Bennett Griggs, Ayla Burba, Charlotte Spohr, Max Wellman, Ben Lowry and Will Stark.


Not pictured: Madeline Wiechel


Kirkwood High School has Five Seniors Named as National Merit Semifinalists and Six National Merit Commended Students Announced


Kirkwood High School (KHS) seniors Leah Broll, Benjamin Lowry, Charlotte Spohr, William Stark, and Max Wellman were named in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among some 16,000 Semifinalists announced nationwide. These five students are among the 309 National Merit Semifinalists from the state of Missouri this year. The pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors.


These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title. 


High school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.


To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 950 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 180 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 368,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

Six KHS Seniors Named as National Merit Commended Students

Kirkwood high School seniors Cecila Bartin, Anya Broll, Ayla Burba, Jane Dubberke, Bennett Griggs, and Madeline Wiechel were named National Merit Commended Students in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

They are among some 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2023 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2023 competition by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).