Return to Headlines

2022 Shakopee National Merit Semifinalist and Commended Students

Three Shakopee Seniors join an elite group of students around the nation

Upholding Shakopee High School’s continued recognition in the National Merit Program, three Shakopee seniors have joined an elite group of students around the nation designated in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. Shakopee Senior Tehya Sepulvado is a 2022 National Merit Semifinalist, and Alejandro Sanchez and Nathan Dake are 2022 National Merit Commended Students.

16,000 Semifinalists were selected for the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These students have an opportunity to compete for roughly 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

When Semifinalist Tehya Sepulvado was asked what inspires her and has made a positive impact on her education, she noted that “Being an older sister inspires me because I want to be a good role model. I have five younger siblings and I want them to look up to me,” shared Sepulvado.

Commended Students Alejandro Sanchez and Nathan Dake can become candidates for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

“I’ve had a unique educational journey as I’ve been in different educational settings,” shared Dake. “My journey started out in Ghana, West Africa, then I came to the U.S. and attended a private school and am now ending my journey here in Shakopee - and hopefully college will be my next journey,” noted Dake. 

“I owe a lot to my biology teacher and assistant soccer coach, Mr. Hoffman, as he’s really helped me with character development and has had a great impact on me,” shared Sanchez.

According to NMSC, about 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. 

“I’m so proud of each and every one of these students. Whenever we have National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students, it’s such a wonderful reflection of the years of hard work on the parts of these students and their teachers,” noted Erin Heilman, High Potential & Innovative Programs Coordinator. "I’m so excited to see what they will do in their future endeavors,” shared Heilman.

These students will be recognized by the School Board during the November 22, 2021 School Board Meeting held on the Thrust Stage, Shakopee High School, at 6pm. For the full National Merit Program Semifinalist press release, click here.