GSSM Celebrates 18 National Merit Semifinalists

September 22, 2017

Hartsville, SC – The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) is pleased to announce that 18 members of the Class of 2018 were recently named National Merit Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). These academically motivated students are now eligible for continued competition in the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP).

GSSM's 2018 National Merit Semifinalists are:

  • Thien-An Bui, son of June Phan and Phuong Bui of Fort Mill
  • James Byrne, son of Diana and Dr. Tom Byrne of Barnwell
  • Kendall Cole, daughter of Christine and Joseph Cole of Chapin
  • Hunter Cox, son of Michelle and James Cox of Lake View
  • Nick Deas, son of Lisa and Reggie Deas of Hilton Head Island
  • Scott Driggers, son of Karen and Martin S. Driggers, Jr. of Lamar
  • Rondel Garguilo, son of Takisha Dunham and Ronald Garguilo of Effingham
  • Rasikh Hamid, son of Nausheen and Hadi Hamid of Beaufort
  • Jesse Han, son of Miyoung and Whiejong Han of Irmo
  • Anna K. Hewitt, daughter of Karen S. and Kent E Hewitt of Aiken
  • Eesha Maisuria, daughter of Himaxi and Mukesh Maisuria of Lexington
  • Shirley Mathur, daughter of Anuradha Verma and Sharad Mathur of Tega Cay
  • Jacob Steele Palchak, son of Dori S. and Alan J. Palchak of Hilton Head Island
  • Christopher R. Poston, son of Dr. Jenny N. and Robert A. Poston of Rock Hill
  • Brennan Ravan, son of Sarah and J. Scott Ravan of Columbia
  • Melissa Nicole Shugart, daughter of Shelley H. and Todd S. Shugart of Carlisle
  • Ishrat Singh, son of Baljinder Kaur and Jagjit Singh of Irmo
  • Jaden Tennis, daughter of Glenda and Paul Tennis of Fort Mill

"We congratulate our National Merit Semifinalists and wish them continued success through this competition,” said Dr. Hector Flores, GSSM president. “Their success is another testament to our students’ commitment and dedication excellence.”

NMSC chose approximately 16,000 Semifinalists from across the nation. All of the students became immediately competitive for approximately 7,500 scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. 

The program begins with students taking the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). Semifinalists across the nation are then named based on the highest-scoring entrants in each state. A student becomes a finalist based on academic record, high school principal endorsement and an SAT score confirming their qualifying test score.

Approximately 90 percent of Semifinalists are expected to become finalists and over half of the finalists will be awarded scholarships. Awards will be announced beginning in April 2018 and concluding in June. For more information, visit

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