Categorized | Education

Matsunobu named National Merit Scholarship semifinalist


Parker School has announced senior Lysha Matsunobu is a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist in the 59th annual National Merit Program.

Lysha Matsunobu

Lysha Matsunobu

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), according to an NMSC press release, is “a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance” and was “established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goal of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.”

Matsunobu was notified she is one of 16,000 national semi-finalists out of the 50,000 highest scorers of the approximately 1.5 million high school students who take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test) each year.

If Matsunobu advances to finalist standing, in March she will find out if she is a one of the approximately 8,000 winners of a National Merit Scholarship Award.

The awards range from a $2500 lump sum scholarship, to corporate-sponsored and college-sponsored scholarships.

Last year, Parker students Paul Gregg (also a U.S. Presidential Scholar) and Aidan Wharton advanced as National Merit Scholarship Finalists. Gregg went on to win a National Merit Scholarship and the Merit Scholar title.

Matsunobu, daughter of Miriam and Neal Matsunobu of Kona, came to Parker in the sixth grade.

She is captain of Lincoln-Douglas Debate on the school’s debate team (the 2013 state champions); the president of the National Honor Society; and a member of the new Parker School Investment Club.

She has earned several awards over the years: the Richard M. Smart Scholarship; the Yale Book Award; was named an AP Scholar with Distinction; and earned the National Forensics League Degree of Distinction (debate). She plans on studying engineering in college.

“Thank you to my entire Parker School ohana,” Matsunobu said. “I really could not have achieved this without being a part of your community and experiencing your sixth to 12th grade curriculum and activities. Music, sports, dance, drama, and the arts, I got to do it all. What a wonderful journey it has been.”

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