Reception held for National Merit semifinalists


Pre-calculus and Advanced Placement (AP) statistics teacher Phil Ero gives a humorous keynote to students on Nov. 11.

Sandy Cho, News Editor

In a darkened auditorium, seniors burst into laughter at pre-calculus and Advanced Placement (AP) statistics teacher Phil Ero’s keynote.

The reception for the National Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic Recognition semifinalists was held on Nov. 11.

“I felt really honored to be chosen as a semifinalist, especially because only 2 others from my base school got in,” senior Jess Shen said. “Additionally, since I’m from Arlington County, my county’s been really proud of me as a Jefferson student and I’ve gotten quite a few really fancy certificates and letters in the mail from them.”

In addition, counselor Andrea Smith played the piano both at the beginning and ending of the reception. Refreshments were also provided.

For his keynote, Ero discussed his experiences teaching at a community college for two years when he lived in Oregon because his wife, who is in the Coast Guard, was stationed there.

“He shared some of the stories with us about some students who were either really talented or just really wanted to learn and change their lives,” senior Priya Shankar. “It was an interesting speech that was the perfect mix of funny, serious and inspirational.”

Overall, students were happy to receive recognition for their hard work last year.

“The reception was nice. Some people weren’t thrilled because they showed our junior yearbook photos, but overall it was a nice ceremony,” Shankar said. “I’m excited for being chosen and happy that the hard work paid off.”