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McAuley Students Recognized in National Merit Competition
Posted 09/21/2017 01:43PM

Catherine Rogers ’18 has been named a National Merit Semifinalist for 2018.  She is one of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Catherine now has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. 

"The National Merit program's purpose is to highlight the brightest students and, ultimately, provide them with much-deserved scholarship.  Approximately one percent of PSAT testers qualify as National Merit Semifinalists; 16,000 students from a pool of over 1.6 million. When you really think about those statistics it’s hard not to get goosebumps!” said Nikki Carey, director of counseling for Mother McAuley. “We have always been aware of Catherine's incredible academic talent, but when put into this larger context it really is nothing short of amazing.  We are so proud of her accomplishments and look forward to what is to come."

Last April, Catherine earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36. On average, less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score.

Catherine is a Catherine McAuley Honors Scholar, a program which recognizes superior academic achievement. Members must maintain at least a 4.09 G.P.A. and complete at least five advanced placement classes before graduation, among other requirements.  Catherine also is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Junior Classical League, Student Ambassadors, Book Club, Math Macs and runs Cross Country and Track.

Her freshman year at McAuley, Catherine received the Sr. Agatha O’Brien Memorial Scholarship which recognizes students who score in the top five percent on the High School Placement Test.  She also was one of 16 students to receive the Tradition of Excellence Scholarship for legacy students. Catherine’s mother, Joan Dempsey Garey-Rogers ’83, five aunts, and sister, Jenna Garey ’09, all attended Mother McAuley. Previously, Catherine was named a Mac with Merit, an award which recognizes students for their honorable character, diligent work ethic and notable contributions to the McAuley community. During her sophomore year, Catherine was honored with The Irish Fellowship Educational & Cultural Foundation Scholarship.

Grace Trippiedi ’18 and Hayley Gutrich ’18 have been named National Merit Commended Scholars. 

More than two-thirds (about 34,000) of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT® receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit® Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

Grace is a Sister Agatha O'Brien Memorial Scholar, which recognizes students who score in the top five percent on the High School Placement Test.  She also is involved with the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Math Macs and is a Catherine McAuley Honors Scholar.  This fall she will participate in McAuley's musical, Les Miserable.  Grace is a member of the Brother Rice & Mother McAuley Marching Band.  She sits on the McAuley Upperclasswoman Advisory Board, is involved with Action Reaction and previously was the captain of her freshman softball team. Grace is a graduate of St. Michael's School in Orland Park.

Hayley is a Sister Agatha O'Brien Memorial Scholar, which recognizes students who score

in the top five percent on the High School Placement Test.  She is involved with the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, French Honor Society, and is a Catherine McAuley Honors Scholar.  She also is a member of a Thespian Society and will participate in McAuley's fall musical, Les Miserable. She sings with the school's A Cappella Choir and Liturgical Ensemble. Hayley is a graduate of Christ the King school.

About the National Merit Competition

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit 
Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2018 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 330,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.


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  • 3737 W. 99th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60655
  • Phone 773.881.6500
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