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Class of 2016 National Merit Scholars

Six Mount Si High School seniors from the Class of 2016 have been named National Merit Scholars in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. They earned this distinction by earning top scores in the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which students across the nation take the fall of their junior year.

Class of 2016 Mount Si National Merit Scholars
Congratulations to Mount Si High School’s 2016 National Merit Scholars (pictured left to right):
Ruary Thompson, Jimmy Jacobson, Abigail Bateman, Dana Korssjoen, Emilie Reitz and Hayden Kajercline.
Read about their future plans and the advice they have for freshmen just starting high school below.
Two Mount Si seniors, Dana Korssjoen and Emilie Reitz, were named National Merit Semifinalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. Among the 1.5 million high school students nation-wide who took the exam last fall, they are among the highest scoring entrants in each state. Semifinalist titles are awarded to approximately 16,000 or the top one-third of the top 50,000 highest scorers on the PSAT.
As semifinalists, they can continue in the competition to become National Merit Finalists and scholarship winners. Good luck to both students who are pursuing this goal; finalists are announced in the spring. (Last year, Ryan Hartman continued in the competition from MSHS to be awarded National Merit Finalist status at the end of the year.)

Additionally, Mount Si seniors Abigail Bateman, James “Jimmy” Jacobson, Hayden Kajercline and Ruary Thompson were named National Merit Commended Students. Approximately 34,000 students (or two-thirds) of the top 50,000 highest scoring students were honored with Commended Student awards. This commendation recognizes students' academic success and potential, demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the October 2015 PSAT qualifying test used for program entry.

About the studentsAfter high school, their future plans include:
  • Abby Bateman wants to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah to study music education and, ultimately, teach choir. She currently sings in the Camerata Choir at Mount Si High School, is the assistant director of the Snoqualmie Valley Girls Choir as well as the choir director at her church.
  • Jimmy Jacobson is interested in attending either Williams College in Massachusetts or Claremont College in California; he is considering studying business.
  • Hayden Kajercline is hoping to attend a college on the east coast. New York University and Columbia are top choices, where he’s interested in studying philosophy.
  • Dana Korssjoen is interested in studying political science, to become a political analyst. She would like to attend Stanford University or American College in Washington D.C.
  • Emilie Reitz wants to attend Portland State University or Reed College in Oregon. She plans to major in computer science and minor in linguistics. Her career interest is to work on how computers interact with linguistics, and how technology can be more accessible to everyone. 
  • Ruary Thompson plans to study computer science and engineering. His top choice is to attend the University of Washington.
These seniors offered the following word of wisdom for younger students just starting high school:
  • “Give yourself the best advice. You know what’s best for you, so don’t listen to others. Trust yourself.”
  • “Find yourself a club. It can be hard to find your place in a new school. Finding an activity that you want to learn or enjoy doing will help you meet others with similar interests.”
  • “Keep a sense of humor. There can be a lot of drama in high school, so don’t take things too seriously.”
  • “If you do your homework, before you mess around, you can actually get some sleep in. And sleep is magic! I love sleep.”
  • “Try to find 1 or 2 teachers you really like and maintain a good relationship with them. A few teachers I have stand out.”
  • “Parents are good. They are not stupid. Most times, they are smarter than you give them credit for.”
  • “I had to mess up at the beginning before I figured out not to procrastinate.”
  • “Make sure you have lots of different colors of shoes.”
  • “A lot of what makes school work seem boring or grueling is when you do assignments for the grade or the prompt. Instead, if you do the work to explore something you’re really interested in and can be passionate about, school work is much more enjoyable.”
  • “There is nothing wrong with sitting in silence and thinking. Not enough people think.”
  • “High school is a time to wear lots of deodorant -- seriously.”
  • “Don’t worry about there not being enough jobs in a certain area when thinking about the future. What’s most important is to be passionate about what you do.”
  • “If you ever feel like you are the only one who doesn’t fit in, know that everyone has felt like that at some point.”
  • “Anyone can earn a college degree. Don’t sell yourself short. Believe in yourself.” 
  • As a parting thought, one student shared her favorite quote by Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
In honor of this accomplishment, the National Merit Scholar portraits will be added to the prestigious “Wall of Fame” in Mount Si High School’s main hallway leading to the library, where their images will be added with scholars from previous years.
All juniors, sophomores and freshmen at Mount Si High School have the opportunity to take the PSAT/NMSQT® as a way to help prepare them for the SAT and post-high school educational goals. Juniors will take the PSAT exam next Wednesday, October 14, 2015, during the school day. Sophomores and freshman will also have the option to take a practice PSAT exam later this spring.

For more information regarding the College Board/PSAT & National Merit scholarships and recognition, visit: