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EHS Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Mahima Ghosh and Anselma PetrieTwo Eastchester High School seniors were announced as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists this week, as Anselma Petrie and Mahima Ghosh were both recognized for their outstanding academic accomplishments and performance on last year’s PSAT exam. 


Merit Scholarship Semifinalists comprise the students in each state with the highest PSAT scores. Roughly 16,000 students across the country—fewer than 1%—earn semifinalist distinction, making them eligible to compete for some 7,000 scholarships made available through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Ghosh and Petrie both took the PSAT last fall but were not notified of their semifinalist status until last week, when they met with EHS Principal Dr. Jeff Capuano, who revealed the news.


“Honestly, it was kind of ominous, because we got an email from [Dr. Capuano] that said he wanted to see us in his office,” laughed Petrie. “I was scared because I didn’t know what it was about.”


“I always thought there was a chance, and I was definitely hoping to be selected, but I didn’t think it was cut and dry,” added Ghosh.


Both students plan to pursue careers in STEM-related fields, as Petrie aspires to become a pediatrician while Ghosh has her eyes set on biomedical engineering. The duo credit Eastchester’s teachers with helping to foster a love for science and math and say that the EHS faculty has played an important role in their academic development. 


“For me it was Chem Honors and AP Chem with Ms. Kenny and Ms. Dinneen; they’re both just fantastic teachers and they want you to succeed and will do anything they can to help you understand the concepts,” said Petrie.


“Chem Honors was probably the happiest I’ve been in high school,” said Ghosh. “And I also loved AP Bio with Ms. Goldring who was always so excited to help you with anything you needed.”


Ghosh and Petrie now find themselves in the running for a National Merit Scholarship and will be asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, along with an essay and a recommendation from a high school official. National Merit Scholar Finalists will be announced sometime in February and the list of scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases between April and July. 


EHS Principal Dr. Jeff Capuano noted that while Ghosh and Petrie’s selection as semifinalists speaks to their academic aptitude, it doesn’t go nearly far enough in conveying how much they mean to the Eastchester community in general.


“National Merit Scholarship is based on testing, but that is such a small part of who they are; both of them are gifted students, but more than that, they’re very hard working, they’re very kind and they’re very humble,” said Dr. Capuano. “We want students that are academically successful, but we also want people of character, and they are evidence of that and great examples.”