Twenty GSSM Seniors Recognized as Semi-Finalists by National Merit Scholarship Program

November 28, 2022

(left to right) Tomoki Shiratori, John David, Ivan Chen, YeJoon Shin, Taliesin Vaneman, Charalampos Kiaris, Eleanor Shepard, Elliot Lewis, Mritika Senthil, Miya Zhao and Ritisha Adusumilli

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (November 28, 2022) – Twenty members of the class of 2023 from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) were recognized as National Merit Semi-Finalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The students who were recognized as National Merit Semi-Finalists from GSSM included: Ritisha Adusumilli, Sara Caldwell, Ivan Chen, John David, Charles Dugaw, Katherine Feng, Paul Hitopoulos, Grant Keiser, Charalampos Kiaris, Elliott Lewis, Briggs Murray, Mritika Senthil, Eleanor Shepard, YeJoon Shin, Tomoki Shiratori, Taliesin Vaneman, Raja Villareal, Michael Wang, Emily Zhang and Miya Zhao.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition operated by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) to honor the nation’s scholastic champions and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence. In order to qualify to be a finalist, students must apply and qualify for the program based on their Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test scores, have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by a high school official and write an essay.

“One of the goals of the National Merit Scholarship program is to promote a wider and deeper respect for learning in general and for exceptionally talented individuals in particular,” said GSSM President Danny Dorsel. “Students who seek out a GSSM education want a deeper, richer educational experience and are among the most motivated and talented students in South Carolina. I’m proud of our Govies who have earned the recognition of National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. This award is another validation for these students of their hard work and dedication to academic excellence.”

Of the 1.5 million students in 21,000 high schools that enter the National Merit Scholarship Program each year, semifinalists represent less than 1% of the nation’s high school graduating seniors. They are the only participants who have an opportunity to advance in the competition for some 7,250 Merit Scholarship awards worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

“We applaud the exceptional performance of these Governor's School students on the PSAT as juniors to lead them to this accomplishment,” said Dr. Jenifer Blair, GSSM Director of College Counseling. “Regardless of their postsecondary destinations, they will be well prepared to succeed in their academic endeavors.”

For more information on GSSM, visit or call 843-383-3900.

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About the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics

One of the few specialized public residential high schools of its kind, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) exists to push motivated young learners beyond their perceived levels of academic ability. Founded in 1988 under the leadership of the late Governor Carroll Campbell, GSSM has consistently raised the bar for STEM education in the Palmetto State. GSSM’s two-year residential high school program—as well as its virtual high school program, summer camps, and outreach programs—all invite young people to explore the subjects they love in a diverse, inclusive, and uncommonly supportive academic environment. Here, challenge is viewed as a gateway to opportunity. GSSM students embrace the school’s rigorous approach to education and in so doing begin to realize their full potential. Learn more by visiting