Congratulations to our National Merit Scholar Semi Finalists 2020-21

  • When Aiden Crowe, Nikolai Kosinski and Caroline Winakur reached eighth grade at George Washington Middle School, their math ability was such that the trio were literally in a class of their own.


    Algebra 2 with Sarah Devito became a class of three as teachers sought to individualize learning in the subject area they all excelled at.

    They have remained good friends ever since.

    And earlier this month, the T.C. Williams High School seniors discovered they had all been named National Merit Scholarship semi finalists after outstanding results in the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last October.

    They waited a year before they heard of their success. 

    Aiden’s mother spotted his name in a media release and he was able to give the good news to the others.




    Aiden, who hopes to pursue a career in engineering, said: “I was really excited when I found out. I had been in a state of will it happen, won’t it happen for the entire year.”

    One of the first people he shared their achievement with was Miss Devito.

    “She was thrilled for us, she was really excited and told us that we all had great futures ahead,” he said.

    Next step is the submission of a personal essays 
    which helps the NMS committees get to know the students better.

    Then, there’s a nail-biting wait until February to see if they make the next round and be named National Merit Finalists, a prestigious academic accolade.

    In addition to our three semi finalists, six other Titans received commendations for impressive scores that did not quite reach the cut off.

    Eva Campbell, Anna Dugan, Grace Guimond, Anna Hill, Mia Humphrey and Madeleine Kysilko were all recognized for “the exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test,” according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

    Principal, Peter Balas, said, “I am proud of all nine of these exceptional Titans who have shown dedication to their studies. We wish Caroline, Nikolai and Aiden the best of luck as the competition progresses.”

    When school is in person, ACPS pays for students in grades 8, 9, and 10 to take either the PSAT 8/9 or the PSAT 10.  ACPS also offers students in grades 11 and 12 an opportunity to take the SAT during the school day at no cost.

    In addition, the school division funds the PSAT/NMSQT for any student in grade 11 who is interested in participating. ACPS is continuing to explore opportunities to provide some of these assessments to students at some point in the current school year.

    In 2019, 3.8 million students from across the US sat the test.

    Approximately 16,000 make it to the semi final stages each year and 15,000 make it as finalists.

    Of the finalists, approximately 8,700 receive scholarship awards, totalling about $40 million.

    In addition to 7,600 National Merit Scholarships that are awarded, an additional 1,100 scholarships are sponsored by business organizations for other high performers in the competition.  All winners are chosen on the basis of their scholastic and extracurricular accomplishments, abilities, and potential for future academic success.

    All three of our semi finalists are interested in majoring in engineering and, while MIT is on the radar for Aiden and Nikolai, Caroline is keeping her college options open. 

    Reflecting on her final year at T.C., Caroline, who along with Aiden has been part of the school’s Robotics Team for years, said, “One of the really cool things about T.C. is that there are so many opportunities. This is where I found my love for computer science.”