National Merit Scholar Semifinalists Recognized

Punahou Communications Staff

September 11, 2014

Twenty-five Punahou seniors were named 2015 National Merit Scholar Semifinalists this year following their outstanding achievement on a nationwide exam. Semifinalists represent less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors.


“I'm very impressed by our Semifinalists: I feel fortunate to know them in all their accomplishments – in and out of the classroom – and they are excellent students, beyond measure,” said William Ouellette. He and Paris Priore-Kim ’76, the two Academy Deans for the senior class, extended their congratulations to the students and their families. President Jim Scott ’70 also met with the students following the announcement to congratulate them on their success.

Students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors, which serves as an initial screen for entrants to the program. Academy Principal Kevin Conway noted that approximately 93 percent of Semifinalists continue on to become Finalists, so the students’ achievement at this point is already impressive.

Semifinalists may apply to become a Finalist in the program by undergoing a rigorous application process that includes an endorsement from a high school official, a written essay and further achievement on standardized tests. The students must also submit a history of their academic record, participation in community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and awards received.

Punahou’s 2015 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists include: Max Aalto, Noah Ahn, Melanie Hamasaki, Ale Hedlund, Libby Hoffenberg, Jedediah Johnson, Anna Koerner, Susannah Lawhorn, Byron Li (not pictured), Shirley Lin, Elisa Liu, Michele Miao, Melissa Miura, Jonathan Murata, Amanda Nakanishi, Claire Nobuhara, Danielle Sato, Susan Shiroma, Wyatt Smith, Eyrica Sumida, Brandon Takao, Steven Takeshita, Liz Tenrai, Taylor Wardwell and Michael Wong.


  • 9/13/2014 12:15:57 PM

    Congratulations to all!! Brandon, we are SO PROUD of you but always knew you would excel! – Vic and Dee Ann Takao

    • 9/16/2014 2:19:42 PM

      Congratulations, Michael! Way to go! – The Atterboms

  • 10/26/2014 2:32:41 AM

    Congratulations everyone!

    • 11/8/2014 12:03:44 PM

      Congratulations to everyone, we are so proud of you!!! – Giselle Franklin


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