Cassandra Kliewer selected as Semifinalist for National Merit Scholarship


Grace Kelly

Kliewer studies in her AP Literature class.

Neena Vazquez, News Editor

Only 78 Clark County School District (CCSD) high school students have been selected as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

One of our own, senior Cassandra Kliewer, has been selected for the 2023 program through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Selected students represent 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and qualify to continue in the competition for National Merit scholarships worth nearly $28 million.

Students entered the program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, the initial screening for program entrants.

The semifinalists include the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Cassandra Kliewer was among the highest-scoring participants in Nevada out of more than 1.5 million applicants in more than 21,000 high schools nationwide.

“When I heard that only 78 students from CCSD became semifinalists, I felt like I was a part of an exclusive club, especially being the only one representing Silverado,” Kliewer explained.

“I was stunned. I thought that I had done terrible on the PSAT,” Kliewer continued, “but it turned out that the opposite was true.”

To become a National Merit finalist, each semifinalist in their high school must complete a detailed application that provides information about their academic record. Then, the semifinalist must write an essay and receive good SAT scores on the qualifying test. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

Kliewer states that while taking the SAT, she was pretty relaxed, neither confident nor nervous. If she were to win the scholarship, she said she would use it towards her studies in engineering and mathematics.

After high school, she plans on going to an excellent university to major in computer engineering or electrical engineering since she’s always wanted to get into a career involving robotics.

Rather than taking the test cold, Kliewer did some preparation.

“I didn’t have a 24-hour study session or anything like that, but I did review all of the equations and grammar rules that I needed to know,” Kliewer explained.

Her advice to underclassmen?

“Review everything important the morning of,” she said. “Maybe it’s bad advice, but it worked for me.”