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2 Maui Students Named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

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There were two Maui semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program this year, one from HP Baldwin HS, and the other from King Kekaulike. File photos/graphics by Wendy Osher/Maui Now.

There were two Maui semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program this year, one from HP Baldwin HS, and the other from King Kekaulike. File photos/graphics by Wendy Osher/Maui Now.

By Wendy Osher

Two Maui Students were named as semifinalists in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Keane Chan Hodges of King Kekaulike High School, and Andrew Teoh of HP Baldwin High School were the only two Maui students selected for recognition by the academic program this year.

They were among 16,000 semifinalists selected across the nation and 66 individuals named to the list in Hawaiʻi.  The semifinalists represent less than one percent of US high school seniors, and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.


The list will be narrowed to 15,000 finalists in February, and then again to 7,400 National Merit Scholars winners.  Merit Scholars have the opportunity to earn more than $32 million in scholarships in the spring.

Directors with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation say about 90% 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 not-for-profit organization operates without government assistance and was established in 1955.  The funding is made possible through the help of 440 business organizations and institutions of higher education that share the same goals of honoring scholars in their pursuit of academic excellence.

The initial screening process started when the scholars were juniors and took either the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  Additional selection criteria included a scholarship application that detailed outside activities, leadership roles, employment and honors.


The complete list of Hawaiʻi semifinalists includes the following:


  • Damien Memorial HS: Gozun, Melissa Malia N.
  • Hawaiʻi Baptist Academy: Suzuki, Sydney K.
  • ʻIolani School: Chew, Brandon T.; Hirata-Epstein, Dante K.; Hirata-Epstein, Taja K.; Jenkins, James D.; Kim, Jazmyn L.; Komeya, Koen K.; Liu, Kevin; Mason, Kaishu A.; Peng, Darwin; Schatz, Kylie M.; Swope, Aidan M.; Taguchi, Isaac M.; Takata, Kaitlyn L.; Tanaka, Kento; Tanaka, Reece Y.; Tom, Jenna K.; Warner, Kai; Wong, Jasmine; and Young, David H.
  • Henry J Kaiser HS: Bender, Sophie G.
  • Kalani HS: Huang, Darrell Y.; and Johnson, Peter M.
  • Kamehameha Schools Kapālama HS: Arasoo, Atheena K.; and Pappalardo, Isabella A.
  • McKinley HS: Chen, Vivien Y.
  • Mid-Pacific Institute: Fields, Huey M.
  • Punahou School: Chen, Michael L.; Corpuz, Allisen S.; Do, Beobgwan; Gardetto, Nicholas P.; Huo, Theodore Q.; Ingram, Cassandra J.; Johnston, Arthur; Kanja, Kassidy Y.; Klein, Mark P.; Kobayashi, Forest D.; Le, Serena; Mahon, Thomas C.; Marshall, Kelly O.; McKenna, Emily T.; Moore, Andrew D.; Moseley, Kailea A.; Ogasawara, Ryan I.; Ota, Daniel A.; Seo, Hyeon-Jae; Shideler, Maia; and Uyeno, Evan S.
  • Roosevelt HS: Pang, Andrew S.; and Yim, Carmen E.
  • Sacred Hearts Academy HS: Oh, Annie
  • St. Andrew’s Priory School: Linton, Kailani N.
  • University Laboratory School: Soderholm, Cayleigh A.


  • Homeschool: Uithol, Elissa M.
  • Le Jardin Academy: Rosenlinn, Ella W.


  • Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy: Kilkenny, Tristan C.; Virtue, Jordan E.; and White, Will R.
  • Parker School: Hiller, Carolyn


  • Island School: Wu, Daniel E.


  • King Kekaulike HS: Chan Hodges, Keane K.


  • Mililani HS: Askerooth, Risa C.; Chun, Kayli R.; and Villegas, Tyler P.


  • Henry P Baldwin HS: Teoh, Andrew Z.

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