Two Warwick Valley High School students named National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists

Warwick. Principal Marguerite Fusco describes seniors Laura Cook and Arden Hallett as ‘two young women who could not be more deserving of that honor!”

| 27 Sep 2021 | 02:28

Two Warwick Valley High School students – Laura Cook and Arden Hallett – were named as semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program this month.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) honors the nation’s scholastic champions and encourages the pursuit of academic excellence. The nationwide pool of 16,000 semifinalists includes the highest-scoring entrants from each state, and represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school and be endorsed and recommended by a high school official. They must also submit an essay and achieve SAT or ACT scores that confirm their earlier performance on an NMSC qualifying test.

“I am so proud of Laura and Arden,” said Warwick Valley High School Principal Marguerite Fusco. “Watching how hard they work and then seeing them achieve this prestigious national honor for it has been incredible. Being a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist makes you part of an elite group of high school students nationwide. Today we celebrate two young women who could not be more deserving of that honor!”

Both Laura and Arden were called to Fusco’s office on Sept. 9 to receive the news. Neither of them knew it was coming.

“I knew the semifinalists were getting announced at the beginning of the year,” said Laura. “I didn’t realize it was today. This is very, very exciting!”

Laura: Math and pharmaceutical science

Laura said she has a couple things in mind as far as her career path. She has interests in both teaching math and the field of pharmaceutical science. Whichever path she chooses, she’s already found a place to pursue her passion.

“This summer I visited the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and I loved it,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful school, and they have everything that I want to do.”

Arden: Actuarial science

Arden knew the semifinalist announcement was happening in September and was waiting hopefully for the good news.

“I’ve been researching it, and the site said Sept. 9,” she said. “So, I’ve been waiting to find out!”

Arden has also chosen a school for next year.

“I’m planning on going to the University of Iowa,” said Arden, who added that she is planning on studying actuarial science, the study of quantifying and managing financial risk based on uncertain future events.

From approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level. Laura and Arden are continuing in the competition, which will culminate this spring with the NMSC awarding 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totaling nearly $30 million.