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Posted Date: 09/30/2021


Norwalk Public Schools is pleased to announce that Brien McMahon High School Senior Jacob Kolman was named a National Merit Scholarship Corporation Semifinalist. Brien McMahon Seniors Sofia Cabrera and Isabella De Jesus, and Norwalk High School Junior Andrea Mejia were named National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) 2021-2022 Scholars.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation Semifinalist

Kolman is one of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists included in the prestigious 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Of these academically talented high school seniors, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, which will be announced in February. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

A perceptive and sharp individual with a high aptitude for math and science, Jacob is self-driven to understand how things work, whether it be the 100-year-old math problem, or exploring the forces that hold our universe together. He is currently enrolled in one of the most rigorous programs at Brien McMahon High School. As a junior, he joined the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and is a career-related Programme Diploma candidate. This program integrates IB classes with Project Lead the Way classes in the STEM field. Not only does Jacob excel at his academics, he is also a member of the musical technology department, co-captain of the math team, a leading member of the robotics team, and a member of the BMHS golf team. 

Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 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.


To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay.

Every finalist will compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million. Approximately 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2022 will be announced beginning in April 2022. These scholarship recipients will join more than 362,000 other young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

National Hispanic Recognition Program 2021-2022 Scholars

The National Hispanic Recognition Program grant provides underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country, helping them stand out during the admissions process. Colleges and scholarship programs use these honors to identify students from underrepresented groups through College Board’s Student Search Service.

Brien McMahon Seniors Sofia Cabrera and Isabella De Jesus, and Norwalk High School Junior Andrea Mejia are three out of approximately 5,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors recognized among the more than 400,000 who take the PSAT. As with the National Merit Scholarship Program, NHRP uses the junior year PSAT/NMSQT as the qualifying test. Students considered for the Hispanic Recognition Program must identify as Hispanic or Latinx and be permanent residents of the United States or a United States territory.

Norwalk High School Grade 11 Student Andrea Mejia has excelled in the classroom as well as making a significant impact within the school community. Andrea has maintained a cumulative grade point average of 4.038, while taking a demanding course of study including Advanced Placement classes, Honors classes, and two world language classes. Andrea is a two-sport athlete with the field hockey and tennis teams. Additionally, she has held several leadership positions such as class president, AP ambassador, and Helping Hands student-leader. Andrea is also involved in a myriad of service programs including fundraising campaigns for Bears Beating Cancer and serving as a student ambassador and role-model assisting multilanguage learners to assimilate to our community.

Isabella De Jesus is a well-rounded student who has a passion for math and humanities. Isabella’s hard work, perseverance and consistent effort to improve herself and the world around her are evident in all that she does academically and in her community. She is currently enrolled in one of the most rigorous programs at BMHS. As a junior, she joined the International Baccalaureate program as an IB Diploma candidate. Isabella is also a passionate member of the student government, and is involved in theater and Caporales Bolivian dancing.  

Sofia Cabrera is a highly motivated and intelligent student who excels in math and science. Her consistent determination, perseverance and patience are evident in all that she has done throughout her academic career. Sofia has been an enthusiastic member of the Brien McMahon Healthcare Academy, and is planning on continuing her healthcare career in college and beyond. Additionally, Sofia is an executive member of the Center for Youth Leadership and a passionate contributor to the Hidden Voices club.