High school student and math star Aaron Zhang was recently named a semifinalist in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. In a Sept. 10 announcement, he was recognized for his outstanding test results in the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, where he competed in an initial screening against more than 1.4 million students from over 22,000 high schools and finished in the top 1 percent in the state.
Zhang will be continue to compete to achieve the finalist level and vie for one of 7,6000 National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $33 million, to be offered next spring by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which has held this prestigious academic scholarship competition since 1955.
The modest young man was surprised by his achievement. “I wasn’t sure if I would get it because the cut-off is so high,” Zhang said. “But it feels really good.”
The senior is in his second year of membership in the school’s math team (for which he now serves as captain), academic team and Science Olympiad team. As a junior, Zhang earned second place as part of a two-person Circuit Lab team in the New York State Science Olympiad regional competition. He also participates in other high-level math competitions such as the Suffolk County Math Tournament, where he won first place last year for the second year in a row. In his spare time outside of school, Zhang enjoys taking extracurricular computer science classes and conducting online computer research projects.
“We will be hearing a lot about Aaron in the future,” said his proud principal, James Cummings.