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The Top 1%: Ibrahim Syed and Josephine Wu Honored as National Merit Semifinalists


Congratulations to Ibrahim Syed and Josephine Wu on their selection as National Merit Semifinalists. Over 1.5 million juniors entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of US high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.  Of the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist stage.


“The National Merit Scholarship Program is a program that has recognized outstanding scholars in the nation for over sixty years. Randolph Schools is proud of our commended semifinalist scholars for this year. These students will undergo a rigorous process to be considered a National Merit Finalist; the district wishes them well and applauds the outstanding academic performance that led to this phenomenal recognition.”


Jonathan Olsen, Director of Secondary Education


“Being named a National Merit Semifinalist is certainly an honor and we are very proud of both Josephine and Ibrahim.  Both students have demonstrated their dedication to academics through their daily performance as well as by earning this distinction.  On behalf of RHS, we congratulate them for their hard work and wish them continued success.”


Debbie Iosso, Randolph High School Principal


Ibrahim Syed is heavily involved at Randolph High School. He is President of the Math National Honor Society and Vice President of Computer Club. He participates in Speech & Debate, Science Olympiad, and the Science & Social Studies Honor Societies. Post-graduation, he intends to major in computer science. Ibrahim credits some of his success to his experiences at Randolph. “While on the one hand this recognition serves as an acknowledgement of the work I’ve done in high school, I think it more broadly serves as a recognition of who I have become as a result of being a member of the Randolph community, and it validates the intellectually stimulating environment I’ve been in for most of my life…I’m most proud of the relationships I have had whether that’s with teachers, guidance counselors, or classmates. It has been the collaboration which has been a force multiplier in terms of successful projects done and new concepts explored. It is critical to be an integral part of the academic and social fabric of the RHS community. It nurtures, challenges, and brings out the best in everyone.”


Josephine Wu was recently honored and recognized for her published research in Practical Radiation Oncology. She is a member of Arietta Select Ensemble and Chamber Strings. She is a teacher’s aide at Center Grove and a tutor at Randolph Middle School. Josephine is also in numerous honor societies which include NEHS, MNHS, SNHS, and SSHS. Her dream is to pursue a career in history concentrating in East Asian Studies and/or Medieval Studies. Josephine believes that there is no end to what she can accomplish as a result of the support she has received both at home and in the classroom. She credits her strong family bond and her teachers for giving her the tools to be successful. “My parents inspire me to work hard and never give up on my goals, my teachers inspire me to dream big and change the world, and writers like Steinbeck & Faulkner inspire me to use my voice to move other people’s lives.”


Great job Ibrahim and Josephine! We know this will not be the last of your accomplishments and we wish you luck in advancing to the next round.