Orange Unified Students Named 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists

Orange, CA – September 18, 2019 – Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced late last week that Villa Park High School seniors Caitlin Baxter and Ryan Vu are Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit® Scholarship Program. These students exemplify the Orange Unified EDGE’s focus on excellence in academics.

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists are recognized for scoring in their state’s top 1% on the previous year’s Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.  Approximately 16,000 students will be recognized as Semifinalists nationwide.

Baxter and Vu now have the opportunity to begin the application process to become National Merit Scholarship Finalists. In February, 15,000 of the 16,000 Semifinalists will be named Finalists and can apply for National Merit Scholarships. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.  Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

National Merit Scholars each receive a $2,500-a-year National Merit Scholarship, a corporate-sponsored scholarship, and/or a college-sponsored scholarship. A total of 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. 

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.

Students Mark Grujic and Ethan Ong were earlier announced as Semifinalists from Canyon High School, which also had 13 students recognized as Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program: Sergio Barretto, Keane Bui, Joshua Cheung, Shreya Deshmukh, Justin Hussong, Kamille Kazarian, Roger Li, Andrew Nguyen, Christine Nguyen, Kevin Park, Dane Pennington, Matthew San Pedro, and Minna Yu.



The Orange Unified School District educates approximately 26,000 PreK-12th grade students in the Cities of Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and unincorporated county areas.  In partnership with our community, we provide a safe, equitable, and innovative culture of learning for each scholar to have a competitive EDGE as a leader.