4 Notre Dame Prep students named National Merit Semifinalists

Notre Dame Prep Principal Jill Platt, far right, congratulates four National Merit Semifinalists. Seniors Josh Babu, left, Reilly Bettis, Brandon Figueroa and Tayler Smith are in the top 16,000 high school seniors nationwide in the National Merit Scholarship competition. They have earned the right to compete to become National Merit Finalists. (submitted photo)

Four seniors from Notre Dame Preparatory High School were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists: Joshua Babu, Reilly Bettis, Brandon Figueroa and Tayler Smith.

These local students are among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship program, according to a press release.

These academically talented high school seniors have the opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarship awards worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

“I can’t even begin to describe how humbled I am to be named one of the top scorers in the United States,” Mr. Babu said in a prepared statement. “For me personally, this achievement is a huge source of motivation for me to continue to improve my studies.”

Mr. Babu, Miss Bettis, Mr. Figueroa and Miss Smith will continue to the next level of the competition to become National Merit Finalists and the possibility of becoming a National Merit Scholar. Of all the semifinalists nationwide, roughly 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level.

They will be notified in February.

“To me, this accomplishment is evidence that all of the hard work I have invested in my academic career throughout high school is paying off,” Miss Bettis said in a prepared statement.

NMSC is a non-profit organization that operates without government assistance. It was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program to honor the nation’s scholastic champions and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.

Notre Dame Prep is a Catholic diocesan college preparatory high school with a co-ed enrollment of 947 students. The school has received national recognition for the caliber of its academic, arts and athletic programs. The school is at 9701 E. Bell Road in Scottsdale.

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