9 Great Hearts Academies Students Recognized as National Merit Semifinalists

Great Hearts December 1, 2016

Additionally, 31 students awarded Commended status


PHOENIX, Ariz.—December 1, 2016—Great Hearts Academies has 9 students who were recognized as National Merit Semifinalists, and 31 students who achieved Commended status. Students must test in the 99th percentile for semifinalist recognition and above the 97th percentile for the commendation. Traditionally, less than 1% of students in the nation are semifinalists and less than 2.5% commended.

Competition in this national program is very rigorous, and winners are chosen based on their abilities, skills, extracurricular accomplishments and potential for success in college and beyond. Recipients compete against more than 1.5 million entrants from nearly 22,000 high schools.

After being named a semifinalist, students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships. About 90% of semifinalists typically attain finalist standing.

A list of Great Hearts National Merit Scholars is included below, by academy:

Scottsdale Preparatory Academy—Semifinalists: Daniel Kiefus, Jaywon Kim, Laura Schumm.
Commended: Chelsea Colliat, Brandon Hegardt, Alexandra Neumann, Daniela Ramras, Alexander Robbins, Madison Semro, Joy Stockwell, Aditya Sudhakar, Carlos Trevino

Chandler Preparatory Academy—Semifinalists: Bethany Kasprzyk, Caitlin Malimban, Tanya Tran.
Commended: Jack St. Peter, Cindy Liu

Glendale Preparatory Academy—Semifinalist: Jayden Self
Commended: Austin Dageforde, David Domocos, Brandon Kruelle, Araceli Lopez, Gabrielle Pettit, Emileigh Rafidi, Alexis Underhill, Margaret Waskow

Veritas Preparatory Academy—Semifinalists: Samuel Gerkin,  John Church
Commended: Bailey Cooper, Thomas Abel

Arete Prep Academy—Commended: Ruth Oliver, Grace Spotts, Brandon Dahl

Trivium Prep Academy—Commended: Jack Gashler, Yen Thao Lam, Rebekah Smith, Isaac Wen

Anthem Prep Academy—Commended: Anthony Marrama, Lauren Wadsworth, Kelsey Koscienski

“We are delighted to see so many Great Hearts students honored as National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students this year,” shared Dr. Robert Jackson, Chief Academic Officer for Great Hearts. “This recognition provides a notable benchmark from a uniform comparison across all high schools nationwide. We give tremendous credit to the dedication of our students in their pursuit of intellectual and moral excellence.  These accolades for our students provide additional evidence for the strength of the Great Hearts model of classical education.”

About Great Hearts Academies:
Great Hearts is a non-profit network of public charter schools dedicated to improving education nationwide through classical preparatory K-12 academies. As the largest provider of classical education in the country, Great Hearts academies serve more than 13,000 students at 29 public schools in greater Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas (Irving), with waitlists that typically exceed enrollment. Great Hearts provides a robust liberal arts curriculum incorporating advanced math and science, a focus on the arts and foreign language, and a range of extra-curricular activities and athletics. Learn more at www.greatheartsamerica.org.

Key Statistics:

  • The Great Hearts SAT average over the past five years is 1210, a 200 point advantage over the national average.
  • 98% of Great Hearts graduates immediately attend universities and colleges, with 2% participating in military service or a gap year; 54% of graduates pursue a STEM-focused course of study in college.
  • The 340 graduates in the Great Hearts Class of 2016 were admitted to 327 colleges and universities in 46 states and seven countries.  In fact, graduates were accepted to 22 of the top 25 national universities according to US News and World Report.
  • The class of 2016 received an estimated $50 million in scholarships, averaging an astounding $147,000 per student!
  • Great Hearts academies performed well above state-wide averages on inaugural AzMERIT scores. Great Hearts’ pass rates were more than double those of peer district schools at the middle and secondary level, and +60% higher than peer institutions in elementary grades.

Bill Odell
Director of Communications, Great Hearts
(602) 889-5034

Back to Press Room