Six seniors noted as National Merit Semifinalists

Seniors Anastasia Davidson, Claudia Gaff, David Hitchman, Ian Lewis, Cory Roth and Emma Sliwinski are the Cedar Falls Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program. These students are in the top 16,000 of the highest scoring entrants. They are in the running to qualify as Finalists, which will not be determined until February. 

Coming from two of the highest PSAT scoring entrants, the attributes that help test takers succeed are knowledge and hard work. 

 “I feel like my willingness to try my hardest on every test helped me be successful,” Roth said. “I have always tried hard in school and taken education seriously, it is nice to know that it has finally paid off for something.”

Gaff attributes her results to “Natural Intelligence, I guess. I don’t study or do anything for these tests. You’ve either got it or you don’t.”

With the achievement of being a Semifinalist and in the hopes of becoming a Finalist, Roth said he hoped these strategies help him choose and get into the college of his choice. 

“There are some colleges that will pay full tuition for National Merit Scholars to attend their schools, so it is nice to know that I have my options open to go to different schools. Also, even if I try to go to a school that doesn’t pay a lot for that merit, it still would give me a leg up on the other students and show my willingness to work hard,¨ Roth said. 

Gaff and Roth both see college in their future. Roth said, “I plan on attending college for engineering, either computer or mechanical. I do not know where yet, but I have narrowed it down. I am currently going to apply to Iowa State, as they are one of the colleges who will give full tuition scholarships to National Merit Finalists, but I will also be applying to other colleges, mainly some Ivy League like MIT, Princeton and Columbia, just to see if I can be accepted.”

Gaff is still weighing her options. “Considering coronavirus, I’m not sure. I’d like to attend college and try to get my manuscript published. I’d like to go to film school and hopefully be able to write on the side no matter what my job ends up as.”

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