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Olson Achieves Semifinalist Status

Trevor Olson (Photo by Amber Holt)

Student contributor

Cranberry High School is home to many talented, successful individuals, and recently, Trevor Olson qualified as a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship.

For those who aren’t aware of what this semifinalist status entails, College Board collects PSAT scores from across the nation and selects the top 50,000 scores. The number of students chosen from each state is determined by the percentage of students in each state who took the PSAT. From that point, College Board takes 16,000 of those top students as semifinalists. Those who were not selected as semifinalists got letters of commendation.

Olson was first informed of his selection as a semifinalist on a typical school day. Between classes, School Counselor Andy Godinich pulled him away to the library where his parents were eagerly awaiting his arrival to reveal his achievement.

Olson hadn’t anticipated becoming a finalist, so in the face of this commendable accomplishment, he couldn’t help but experience a mixture of surprise, bliss, and pride. According to Olson, his inclination to expand his knowledge, ability to easily memorize and recall information, and natural talent in a variety of subjects were all contributing factors to his success.

“I have a lot of people who are always pushing me to do better, and I greatly appreciate that,” Olson stated.

Moving forward, Olson has the capability to become a National Merit Scholarship finalist, though it may be some time before he’s informed of College Board’s decision. To qualify as a finalist candidate, Olson had to complete an application and an essay pertaining to someone who has influenced him. For this essay, Olson chose to write about Gayle Mitchell, his gifted instructor at Cranberry.

For aspiring National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, Olson recommends getting a good night’s rest, minimizing stress on a day-to-day basis, and making an effort to pay attention during classes to retain as much information as possible. Though the competitive nature of the PSATs may be intimidating, success isn’t beyond reach.


Hannah Niederriter and Amber Holt are students at Cranberry High School and members of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications class.

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