Good news


The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced the names of more than 16,000 Semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit

Scholarship Program, including several from Hinsdale Central.

Central’s Merit Semifinalists are Sebastian Attlan, Analise Budziak, Alexander Burt, Natalie Chang, Jiming Chen, Luke Chung, Samuel Chung, Cole Clawson, Rohan Devulapally, Priya Dhananjaya, Annaka Freve, Sherry Gong, Rebecca Guan, Jessica Han, Jacob Haverkos, Nicole Hu, Nicole Catherine Huber, Andrew Kassab, John Knott, Jeffrey Liu, Cayleigh O’Hare, William Otten, Isaac Park, Ramez Rifai, Paul Schmeltz, Anika Singh, Karan Sudhama, Nancy Wang, Charles Wittemann, Kevin Zhang

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.

High school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than 1 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.

To become a Finalist, the student and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. 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® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. About half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.


For the second year in a row, the Association of School Business Officials International awarded Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 the Meritorious Budget Award for the 2022-23 budget year. The MBA recognizes excellence in budget presentation and is the highest award possible.

This prestigious award places District 181 in the top 1 percent of performing school districts with award-winning transparency. The MBA is only given to school districts that have met or exceeded the rigorous award criteria.

“This is the highest national honor and recognition for budget content excellence a school district can receive,” said Rick Engstrom, assistant superintendent of business and operations.

Program participation enhances school business officials’ skills in developing, analyzing and presenting a school system budget. Participants submit their budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the criteria checklist and other requirements and provide expert feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents.

“The budget is an excellent document that includes a wealth of information in graphic and narrative form. It is user-friendly for the average taxpayer with abundant data to meet varied readers’ needs. Many components are suitable as stand-alone documents. The review team congratulates the district for their budget submission to the Meritorious Budget Award,” ASBO stated.

“Being evaluated by resemblant school districts makes earning this award that much more special,” Superintendent Hector Garcia said. “It affirms that District 181 is committed to financial transparency and excellence.”


The following students from Hinsdale Central are among the 62,000 individuals from across the country who earned academic honors from the College Board’s National Recognition Program. These honors include the National African-American Recognition Award and the National Hispanic Recognition Award.

NAARA — Elyssa Chandler, Talia Johnson, Mai-jeanna Sakho, Christina Tresslar, Brandon Walker and Jason Yawe

NHRA — Alexander Aschinberg, Christopher Cavero, Lino Hernandez, Gabriela Veliz Hernandez, Sabrina Karim, Sebastian Lopez, Alexander Olguin, Rafaela Ribeiro and Amelia Sowers

In order to be eligible for these awards, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. They must also score in the top 10 percent by state on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 or earn a 3 or higher on two or more distinct AP exams.


Emma Stibich of Hinsdale, graduated with a master’s degree in nursing from Marquette University in Milwaukee.