National Merit Awards


Two hundred and twenty-three. The score that opened so many opportunities and brought justice to every second spent prepping. With this score came the title: National Merit Semi-finalist.

Rider Senior Madison Carlston has spent hours of her time, years even, dedicated to preparing for the SAT.

“I practiced online for a few years on a test prep program,” she said, “and then I went to Mr. Rios’ training sessions part of freshman year, sophomore year, and the beginning of junior year.”

Rider has many opportunities to help prepare students for the test so they can boost their score. This includes summer camps, after school sessions, and even classes.

As for Carlston, her parents, proud supporters, always encouraged her to work hard for her score.  That score placed her in the the top 16,000 students nationwide out of the 1.6-million students who entered the contest.  Now, to earn the finalist title, she has to complete the final requirements in the spring.  If Carlston completes them, which 90-percent of the semifinalists do, she will become eligible to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $33-million.  With the scholarship money, Carlston plans to study and acquire a degree at Brigham Young University.

While the outcome could have been predictable with all of the hours studying, Carlston was still surprised with the results.  She wasn’t the only student surprised by their results.  Five other students at Rider High School were recognized by the National Merit Scholar Program.  

While they weren’t given the title as a semifinalist, they were commended.  To earn that honor, they had to score in the top 34,000 (5-percent of) high school students nationwide.  Those students are Sylar Dotson, Greyson Fitzwater, Pranav Kamath, James Scales, and Par Wilkinson.