Three students—two from Jenkintown, one from Cheltenham—named National Merit Scholarship finalists

Three local students—two from Jenkintown, one from Cheltenham—have been named finalists in the 69th National Merit Scholarship Competition.

They will compete for some 7,100 National Merit Scholarship awards worth more than $28 million.

The trio is among the approximately 15,000 finalists to advance out of the nationwide pool of 16,000 semifinalists. To become finalists, semifinalists had to submit a scholarship application, have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by a school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores confirming their qualifying test performance.

John Byler and PJ Schloth, both seniors at Jenkintown Middle/High School, received the nod.

“This is a testament to their hard work and commitment to their studies,” Principal Tom Roller said. “John Byler is one of the finest students we have had in Jenkintown during my tenure as principal. He has exhausted all of our advanced placement offerings and has taken numerous college courses during his time at Jenkintown. In addition to his academic aptitude, John is one of the most respectful and kind individuals in our school community. He has excelled in our athletic program as a runner and has served as a leader in other clubs and organizations.” 

“PJ came back to Jenkintown from Abington Friends School for his junior year and quickly immersed himself in our small school learning environment. He challenged himself with AP and college classes. In addition, he has starred in Jenkintown Theater Arts’ Productions and has served as a leader in other co-curricular activities,” Roller said.

After earning semifinalist status in the fall, Cheltenham High School senior Kadin Ginkinger has been named a finalist as well.

Ginkinger, who plans to major in psychology on a pre-law track at a school in the Northeast, is the Class of 2024 vice president, and a member of the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. He is a member of the CHS Cultural Proficiency and Equity Student Ambassadors and plays lacrosse and ice hockey. He volunteers his time on the case of a wrongfully convicted man named Tyree Wallace.

“It is rewarding to see that the work I have put in is paying off,” he said. 

About the National Merit Scholarship Corporation

Established in 1955, National Merit Scholarship Corporation is an independent, not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. NMSC is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and contributions to NMSC are tax deductible by the donor. NMSC conducts the National Merit® Scholarship Program, an annual academic competition for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships. Additionally, from 1965 to 2015, NMSC conducted the National Achievement® Scholarship Program, an academic competition for Black American high school students. (See the National Achievement Scholarship Program page for information about the program and its history.)

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Photos: Jenkintown SD, CSD