After scoring a perfect 1520 score on his PSAT, La Serna High School senior Kyle Lien has been named one of 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists for 2018, placing him in an elite group of students who constitute less than 1 percent of seniors in the nation who received the highest scores in their state.
National Merit Scholarship participants are selected based on how they score on their Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) scores, generally taken in junior year. Of the 1.6 million students who took the exam for a chance to win the prestigious $2,500 scholarship, 34,000 top scorers received a commendation and 16,000 were selected as semifinalists.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will announce the 2,500 finalists in February.
“I would like to thank all of my teachers, who have been an inspiration to me,” Lien said. “Qualifying as a semifinalist for the Merit Scholarship is a sign of my accomplishments, showing I’ve worked hard and been at the top of my class.”
Lien, who in June came within 20 points of a perfect SAT score, has a 4.5 cumulative GPA and an active school and extracurricular activity schedule that embraces community outreach, civic policy and athletics. Lien is a La Serna Link Crew member, plays for the water polo team and is a member of the campus Key Club.
Lien is applying to several UC universities, Harvard, Stanford, Northeastern and USC to pursue medicine.
“Kyle is an extraordinary student who is generous to his classmates and respectful to his teachers,” La Serna Principal Ann Fitzgerald said. “Kyle is the ultimate team player, poised to be a tremendous scholar and future leader of his community. We are so proud of his accomplishments thus far and can’t wait to see what awaits him.”
As one of the school’s’ top students, Lien was nominated in June to serve as an American Legion Boys State delegate, traveling to Sacramento with 1,000 high school students to take part in a weeklong civics forum. Students created mock governments and learned the difference between city, county and state administrations.
In addition to rejoicing over Lien’s success, La Serna is also celebrating eight Commended Student recognitions. Placing among the top 50,000 scorers are Courtney Bylsma, Maya Delgado, Connelly Green, Andre Lee, Ye Lee, Sarah Saltikov, Emilie Silvio and Christen Tai.
California High School senior Rochelle Casement also earned recognition as a Commended Student.
“I want to congratulate Kyle for reaching this tremendous accomplishment and commend our other high-achieving students for reaching such an elite status,” Whittier Union High School District Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “We are committed to providing every student the opportunity to realize his or her highest potential in college and career, and with the support and dedication of our teachers and staff, our students continue to perform and make Whittier Union proud.”