Senior Daniel Luo named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

on October 23, 2020

National Merit Scholarship ProgramCongratulations to Monroe-Woodbury High School senior Daniel Luo who is among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Daniel has an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered in spring 2021.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, to be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Daniel and this impressive accomplishment, especially during these difficult times,”said Superintendent of Schools Elsie Rodriguez. “Students are facing so many obstacles during this pandemic and it is wonderful to see that Daniel’s commitment to his academics, music and community service is recognized in this way. On behalf of the school district, I wish Daniel the best of luck in the next step of the selection process.”

We asked Daniel to answer some questions so the M-W community could get to know him better.

Q&A with National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist Daniel Luo

Q: What are you involved in – school/extracurriculars?
A:  I am a 12th Grade Representative in the Student Leadership Committee of Monroe-Woodbury High School Parent Teacher Student Association. Since 7th Grade, I have volunteered for health-related causes such as “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” and “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,” and more. I’ve played for our MWHS Tennis Varsity team since 9th Grade. I am a New York All-State Violist. Since 9th Grade, I have been a dedicated member of our MWHS Mock Trial Club (currently Co-President), FBLA Club (currently Executive Vice President), Math Team and Model UN. I am also a part of NHS and SHS (Spanish Honor Society)

Q: What does being named a NM semifinalist mean to you?
A: I’m glad my hard work paid off. I took the PSAT in Oct. 2019, but it feels like my PSAT exam was a century ago…school sure has changed a lot in the past seven months. The honor of being a NM semifinalist reminds me of my efforts in the past and the challenges ahead.

Q: What is your plan for the future?
A: The future isn’t exactly set in stone, so I want to try a little bit of everything I’m interested in. I plan to diversify my educational foundation and be ready for anything life throws at me.

Q: How has your M-W education prepared you for these next steps?
A: I have grown up in the M-W School District, starting from Kindergarten. I’ve been exposed to many eye-opening opportunities through an MW education, like experiences in premier national competitions, highly selective summer research programs, and international academic conferences. In my years here, I have built a solid knowledge base. More importantly, I have learned to be down-to-earth and open-minded, and I’ll take those qualities with me wherever the winds of life take me.

Q: Advice you would give to younger students.
A: A tip from Master Oogway (from Kung Fu Panda):
The past is history.
The future is a mystery.
But today is a gift.
That’s why it’s called the present.

Learn to enjoy it.