Return to Headlines

Two RHS Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Winners

May 14, 2021


Two Radnor High School Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Winners


Jesse Conen and Joshua YooRadnor High School seniors Jesse Conen and Joshua Yoo were recently named 2021 National Merit Scholarship winners out of a pool of more than 16,000 finalists. A total of 10 RHS seniors were named finalists in this year's competition.

Jesse and Joshua were both awarded $2500 scholarships sponsored by National Merit Scholarship Corportation and are among 2,500 awardees in the second group of winners announced this year. 

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

NMSC finances most of these single-payment National Merit $2500 Scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

NMSC will name winners of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards on June 2 and June 12.

More About Jesse and Joshua

Jesse Conen is Vice President of Model United Nations (UN), sports editor for the Radnorite, and competes with the RHS Hi-Q academic quiz team. Jesse also plays for the RHS boys soccer team and is a member of the track and field team. He previously served on three Township committees, including the Radnor Township School District School Board Curriculum Committee.

Joshua Yoo is president of the RHS Math Club and RHS Physics Club. He is also a member of the Radnor Hi-Q team. Outside of school, he enjoys competing in math and science competitions as a member of the Lehigh Valley Math Team. He is a five-time American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME) qualifier, two-time USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad (USAJMO) qualifier, and a USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) semifinalist. Joshua also loves to play classical symphonic and chamber music and is a violinist in the RHS, Delaware County, and Philadelphia Youth orchestras.  

2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition

Over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2020, some 17,000 Semifinalists were designated on a state representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists had to fulfill requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn 
SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 16,000 met Finalist requirements.

By the conclusion of the 2021 competition, about 7,500 Finalists will have been selected to receive National Merit Scholarships totaling over $30 million. Winners are the Finalist candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.