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Hen Hud Senior Receives National Honor

It became official on Wednesday and George Wright still found himself processing his emotions.

“I was surprised,” the Hendrick Hudson senior said. “And I was very happy.”

Frankly, those words hardly begin to describe Wright’s satisfaction.

The 17-year old was named a semifinalist in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program on Wednesday, Sept. 13. He became one of approximately 16,000 students nationwide to receive this honor, which will give him a chance to pursue a prestigious National Merit Scholarship later this school year.

Already, Wright said, his inclusion is a significant achievement.

“It opens up a lot of avenues for me,” Wright said. “As I try and figure out what I want to do later in my life and where I want to go to college, this is going to be really helpful.”

Wright’s selection was based primarily on his PSAT score. When he took the exam last fall, Wright earned a perfect score on the Math portion and scored a 1480 out of a possible 1520 overall.

Wright has proven his diligence both inside and outside of the classroom. He took five AP courses as a junior and is enrolled in four more as a senior. He also serves as president of the student government and participates in three sports: cross-country in the fall, wrestling in the winter and tennis in the spring.

He credited the school district for pushing him to be successful.

“I’m just so grateful,” Wright said. “I was really lucky to have so much support from Hendrick Hudson. It has really prepared me for this.”

Like all semifinalists, Wright can continue in the competition. He will first have to complete an online scholarship application, providing detailed information about his academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received. Wright will also have to be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn an SAT or ACT test score that confirms his performance on the PSAT.

Over 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the PSAT, which serves as an initial screen of entrants. Approximately 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million total will be offered to the students selected next spring.

The not-for-profit organization was established in 1955. Nearly 375,000 students have earned the Merit Scholar title since it was first granted 69 years ago.