Three KUSD seniors named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Joshua Cao, Cooper Wood and Brian Yao among the highest-scoring entrants in the state


The independent governmental body known as the Kenosha Unified School District was created in 1967 but was built on a foundation of educational excellence established by area schools as early as 1835, a full 13 years before Wisconsin even became a state.

Three Kenosha Unified high school seniors have been named 2022 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Joshua Cao of Indian Trail High School and Academy, Cooper Wood of Tremper High School and Brian Yao of LakeView Technology Academy are three of 16,000 semifinalists nationwide. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring.

High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

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.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’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 Acre scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

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. Finalists will be announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in spring of 2022.

In addition, Shannon Aide of Indian Trail High School and Academy was named a Commended Student in the program. Commended Students are recognized for their outstanding performance on the qualifying tests. Although they will not continue in the competition for scholarship awards, commended students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2022 competition.