Vo becomes National Merit Semifinalist


Last year over 1.6 million students took the PSAT, National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, and only sixteen thousand students were selected as National Merit Semifinalist. Becoming a semifinalists isn’t easy. Students must be within the top one percent of all students that took the test in the U.S. Within that top one percent is Lake Ridge’s own senior, Nicholas Vo.

Academic Assistant Principal Natasha Stewart admires Vo for his accomplishments.

“Nicholas Vo is an intelligent individual who takes his academics very seriously and he’s raised the bar really really high. It’s an honor to have him as a student to represent the student body and to be able to say that you’re an educator of such a great kiddo,” said Stewart.

The PSAT has the potential to change someone’s life. Becoming a semifinalist could lead to a college scholarship of $2,500. Not only could students earn scholarships, but being named a National Merit Scholar is a very prestigious title to have. Despite the prestigious accomplishment and all the accolades, Vo stays humble about his achievement.

“It just feels like you’ve done something different, not necessary something special, but something that you’ve at least worked for. I took this test generally for my own self and just for college and what-not,” said Vo.

The PSAT contains reading, writing, math, and grammar sections, so it can be hard to prepare for the PSAT. Lake Ridge offers courses where students can prepare and better themselves for the PSAT. Students are selected to be in the prep class based on their PSAT score for their sophomore year.

AP Calculus teacher Don Counts teaches one of these courses and sees it as beneficial.

“The district chooses students who did well on their PSAT as a sophomore that have a potential, with a little extra push, could possibly be commended or better, a National Merit Scholar. The reason we have this class is to hopefully find a way to get students scores up a little bit. We don’t have a guarantee, but that’s the main purpose,” said Counts.

Vo will find out if he is a finalists to earn a National Merit Scholarship in February of next year.