Seven Clark County teens picked for National Merit Scholarships

Just one-tenth of 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors pass the rigorous selection process to receive the National Merit Scholarship, but seven Clark County School District students have landed the $2,500 prize.

It's a long road to win the scholarship.

To pass the initial screening and become semifinalists, students' PSAT scores from their junior year must land in the top 1 percent of their class, a group of 1.5 million students. Clark County had 46 semifinalists, including 14 private-school students. The privately operated Meadows School produced 10 semifinalists, the most of any Clark County school. Coronado and Green Valley high schools produced the most semifinalists among local public schools, with seven and eight students, respectively.

To advance to the finals, the 16,000 semifinalists had to show a record of consistently high academic performance throughout high school and repeat their impressive PSAT score in the SAT. In addition, their principal had to write a recommendation. About 15,000 seniors made it to the finals.

From there, a committee of educators picked only 2,500 students for the National Merit Scholarship after factoring in students' essays, leadership in school and community activities, two standardized test scores, and willingness to take difficult courses and succeed.

Scholarship winners from Clark County School District:

■ Joshua Curtis from Centennial High School plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno to major in mathematics.

■ Kevin Cong from Green Valley High School plans to major in business at the University of Pennsylvania.

■ Kristen Hsu from Green Valley High School plans to major in biology at Tufts University.

■ Jason Singh from Green Valley High School plans to pursue a career in international relations at Washington University in St. Louis.

■ Sandeep Srinivasan from Green Valley High School plans to attend University of California, Los Angeles to pursue a career in electrical engineering.

■ John Rockenbach from Moapa Valley High School is considering studying pre-med, pre-law or computer science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

■ Kevin Chen from Northwest Career & Technical Academy plans to pursue a career in molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at or 702-383-0279.