Rutherford County Schools breaks record with 28 National Merit Semifinalists

September 16, 2022

Rutherford County Schools

Twenty-eight Rutherford County students — the most ever in a single year — have been named National Merit Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corps. 

Seniors from four Rutherford high schools earned the honor, including 24 seniors from Central Magnet School, two from Riverdale High School, one from Siegel High School and one from Smyrna High School.

There were a total of 215 National Merit semifinalists statewide, which means Central’s seniors make up more than 10 percent of the state total. There are more than 16,000 semifinalists named in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program, the organization announced this week. 

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. 

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

The 2023 Rutherford County National Merit Semifinalists are:


Central Magnet School

  • Andrew M. Berard
  • Jack B. Blaess
  • Allison V. Burritt
  • Ella B. Clark
  • Hardy C. Gardner
  • Robert G. Gilley
  • Trevor M. Hall
  • Cara J. Hallquist
  • David G. Harris
  • Addison N. Henninger
  • Abby E. Higgins
  • Ethan W. Kennan
  • Elizabeth Leach
  • Riley G. Meredith
  • Grace E. Moore
  • Mikayla D. Morrell
  • Brianna N. Rankin
  • Siri I. Reynolds
  • Anna R. Robertson
  • William A. Severn
  • Isaac S. Smith
  • Ava G. Stanley
  • Kaiden W. Vandergrift
  • Yao Xiao


Riverdale High School

  • Ivy Lin
  • Nico S. Thorn


Siegel High School

  • Samuel R. Trout

Smyrna High School

  • Trevon L. Collins