KENNETT SQUARE—Jeremy Hritz, principal of Kennett High School, is proud to announce that seniors Rio King, Kiley Larkin, and McKenna Norton have been named National Merit Semifinalists by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Over 1.5 million juniors from about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants, according to a National Merit Scholarship Corporation publication. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. This year there are approximately 16,000 Semifinalists.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist must submit a detailed scholarship application, including academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. All three of Kennett’s Semifinalists boast exceptional credentials in each of these areas.

Rio King has participated in a wide variety of activities at Kennett. He ran cross country and played clarinet in the marching band; he was a member of the frisbee club and the captain of the academic team. However, Rio cites his involvement with the Kennett Robotics team as an electrical team leader for three years and the current vice president as his most meaningful experience, as it provided the opportunity to combine his greatest passions and strongest skills. Rio has also served as an intern for Phase Sensitive Innovations and AIM Research Company.

Kiley Larkin has a similarly broad list of activities in which she not only participates but leads her peers. She was elected vice president of her class and sits on student council. She plays soccer both for Kennett, where she serves as team captain, and the Southern Chester County Soccer Association. For several years, Kiley has participated in the Humanitarian Club, MiniThon, UNICEF, Big Sisters/Little Sisters, Model UN, Badminton Club, and Medicine Club, while dedicating herself outside school to dance and the piano. Kiley is a talented artist, having displayed pieces in the Chester County Art Show for the past three years.

Finally, McKenna Norton has also compiled an impressive resume of extracurriculars at Kennett. She ran on both the track and cross country teams, serving as team captain this fall, and was elected to officer positions on the Student Council for three consecutive years; she is a talented cellist, playing in the orchestra, string ensemble, and the pit for KHS’s spring musicals; she speaks Spanish and Chinese. The Humanitarian Club, Mock Trial, Academic Team, and Reading Olympics, along with the volunteer hours she dedicates to several organizations in the community, round out McKenna’s days.

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