Four seniors achieve National Merit Finalist status

Hatboro-Horsham School District  |  Posted on

From left to right: Joanne Lee, Viviana Vergara-Anglim, Alice Hall and Shreya Gorawala

Hatboro-Horsham High School is proud to announce four National Merit Finalists: Shreya Gorawala, Alice Hall, Joanne Lee and Viviana Vergara-Anglim, all seniors.

“It is really an honor to be recognized academically on the national level because I never have been before,” said Hall. “However, I was more excited to see that all of the people that received recognition from our school are females of color this year. I hope that this will be recognized by our community and encourage others like us to believe in themselves.” Gorawala, Lee and Vergara-Anglim also felt honored to be a finalist. “To me, this achievement is something that symbolizes the effort that I put into my education over the last four years,” said Lee.

To become National Merit Finalists, students had to score in the top 1% in the country on their PSAT. The four Hatboro-Horsham finalists all credit the district’s education and teachers for helping them get to this point. “My experience in Hatboro-Horsham School District helped me develop my independence as a learner and helped me remain ambitious,” said Vergara-Anglim.
She and Lee both mention their enrichment/gifted teacher Mr. Fromal on having a big impact on them. “No matter if it is questions about the college process or advice for the future, I know I can turn to Mr. Fromal for help,” said Lee. Gorawala said Mrs. Hilker in AP Language Arts has been her favorite teacher throughout high school. “All the teachers here are very supportive,” said Gorawala. “I am proud of myself and grateful to receive this opportunity as a finalist.”

The high school’s Advanced Placement offerings also helped challenge the students academically. “Through taking advanced classes in the topics that interested me, I was able to broaden my knowledge on many topics,” said Lee. “This definitely came in handy when I prepared for the SAT and PSAT as I already had a strong understanding of the topics they tested on.” The district allowed Hall to skip a grade in math in elementary school and take multi-variable calculus her junior year of high school. “Without this extra challenge, I do not think I would be this prepared for my future in college.”

Hall also credits two Hatboro-Horsham alumnus of the Class of 2021, Kailey Abraham and Sarah Shegogue. Although Hall was busy and thought it was impossible to be a National Merit Finalist, Abraham encouraged her to “Just do it” and Shegogue gave her practice tests to help Hall familiarize herself with the test. “I will never forget how they pushed me and put me in this position,” said Hall.

In addition to the support of teachers and friends, students can’t forget their families. “This achievement would not have been possible without my parents,” said Lee. “Even since I was young, my parents stressed the importance of education. Throughout the years, they have had never-ending support for me and the things I choose to pursue.” Vergara-Anglim also said her family has played a big role in her success this far. “Both of my parents and my older sister have always been supportive of my ambitions, while also giving me the means to make my own mistakes and learn from them,” she said.

Gorawala, Hall, Lee and Vergara-Anglim all are in the National Honor Society, and are involved in numerous leadership organizations, sports and music activities in Hatboro-Horsham High School. “I am extremely proud of these four academically talented young women,” said Principal Dennis Williams. “I can’t wait to see what they accomplish after graduation this year.”

Gorawala and Lee have not decided what colleges they are attending yet, but both plan to pursue a career in the medical field. Lee plans to major in public health and eventually attend medical school. Hall is attending and playing basketball at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and majoring in chemical engineering. She hopes to obtain a Ph.D. degree and a job in the chemical engineering field. Vergara-Anglim plans to attend the United States Naval Academy and commission as a naval officer.