Photos by Richard Gomez
More than a year after taking the PSAT, 22 South Pasadena High School seniors were recognized for their achievements at the annual National Merit breakfast hosted by the Associated Student Body. Students and their families gathered in the high school’s cafeteria for breakfast and a short program early Wednesday morning, February 14. National Merit semi-finalists Kate Ba and Jae Jin Lee were recognized along with 20 other Commended Students, who were among the approximately 50,000 top scorers.
On top of being recognized for her achievement, Ba also organized the breakfast as the Commissioner of Academics. The event hosted several guest speakers and a Q&A session with the recognized students. Guest speakers included SPHS counselor Tracy Ishimaru, SPHS Principal Janet Anderson, South Pasadena Board of Education President John Primuth, and SPUSD Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz. Following the speakers’ brief words and praise, the students were brought up to answer a few personal questions.
Part of Ba’s goal for the breakfast was to acknowledge those who scored high ranks on the PSAT during their junior year, part of a larger effort to increase distinction for academic achievements among the student body.
“What I mainly wanted to do was center the event around the students. That’s why I decided to do a Q&A session for the majority of the event,” Ba said. “I also made it a priority to get the distinguished guests to be able to come and speak.”
The National Merit Scholarship program offers scholarships of $2,500, along with a few additional scholarships to high school students. The NMSC committee initially selects Commended Students and semi-finalists based on PSAT scores. From there, the latter move on to provide additional information, hoping to be selected as finalists and eventually, receiving the scholarship.
South Pas semi-finalists Ba and Lee will find out if they are selected as finalists in the near future.