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Arcadia Orchestras Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

This fall, three Arcadia Orchestras Students were named National Merit Semifinalists: Margaret Lin, Charisse Liu, and Henry Zeng. To become a semifinalist, you must take the PSAT/NMSQT (a test similar to the SAT) in your junior year of high school and receive a top score. Millions of students compete to enter this program, but only those that score among the top 1% are selected. Margaret, Henry, and Charisse did just that and received the special honor of being named semifinalists, an honor that goes to less than 1% of high-school seniors in the nation. Congratulations to the three of them! Here we’ve done a short interview with some of our semifinalists to get to know them a little better!



Charisse Liu:



1. There might be some people who don’t know you so well, so tell us what your favorite way to spend a day off is!

My favorite way to spend a day is to go to the beach. If I can't do that, I like to sleep in and just scroll through Tik Tok the whole day.


2. What’s your favorite quote?

"Road work ahead? Uh yeah, I sure hope it does." -Drew Gooden


3. If you had a theme song, what would it be?

My theme song would be Lucid Dreams by Juice WRLD, but it's sung by Carl Wheezer.


4. As a National Merit Scholarship Qualifier, one of the top scores in the US belongs to you. What went into your process of preparing for this test?

I had previously taken the SAT around a month before the PSAT, so a lot of my preparation was actually done for the SAT. But since the PSAT and the SAT were so similar, I felt like I was already prepared for the PSAT, which was great because I could spend the extra time studying other subjects.


5. As a high-school student taking rigorous courses and joining many extracurriculars, one being orchestra, you must be very busy. How does orchestra fit into your life, and what has it taught you?

Orchestra is my home away from home. It's typically a place where I can just chill and converse with friends without being constantly reminded of all the homework I need to complete. Through being a part of the orchestra program, I've learned that it is necessary to be able to relax.



Henry Zeng:



1. There might be some people who don’t know you so well, so tell us what your favorite way to spend a day off is!

To go somewhere with my friends.


2. What’s your favorite quote?

"Live as if you were going to die tomorrow."


3. If you had a theme song, what would it be?

It really changes from time to time. I don't think there's like an overall theme, but right now I happen to be vibing with Piazzolla's "Winter".


4. As a National Merit Scholarship Qualifier, one of the top scores in the US belongs to you. What went into your process of preparing for this test?

I did a bunch of practice SAT tests, graded them, looked at what I got wrong, and tried not to repeat mistakes. I think it works pretty well as long as you're careful.


5. As a high-school student taking rigorous courses and joining many extracurriculars, one being orchestra, you must be very busy. How does orchestra fit into your life, and what has it taught you?

Orchestra is a community that has always been incredibly fun, because of the people, and also the collaboration in music. It's also the class that I'm most relaxed in (unless I'm doing sectionals LOL). I've always looked forward to it as the class I can have fun in. So yeah, I have so much to be grateful to Orchestra for.




Thank you so much to our semifinalists for taking the time to let us interview them! In the spring, these 3 will have the opportunity to compete for the 7,600 National Merit Scholarships that are collectively worth over $30 million. We wish Margaret, Charisse, and Henry the best of luck!



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