The Student News Site of Coral Springs Charter School

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The Student News Site of Coral Springs Charter School

Paw Print

The Student News Site of Coral Springs Charter School

Paw Print

A National Merit Semifinalist: a future Einstein is on the rise

Roshan Joseph
Groothuis spent his summer at the Cleveland Clinic learning and furthering his knowledge.

An athlete, working student, and valedictorian, senior Eli Groothuis is a triple threat and isn’t stopping there. He has been working tirelessly his whole life to lead up to this moment and has big goals for his life. Shooting for an Ivy League college and a medical career, he is one to watch out for in the future.

A National Merit Semifinalist is one of more than 16,000 of the high scorers, which represent less than the top 1% of the nation’s high school graduating seniors. This is not an everyday achievement as there are many requirements to become a semifinalist. To be a semifinalist, you have to be enrolled as a high school student who is progressing towards graduating, planning to enroll in college following graduation, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and earn a top PSAT score which is the hardest part.

According to, the definition of a top score varies by state, but generally you’ll need to score in the top 1% of juniors to qualify. Groothuis had earned a score of 1480 out of the PSAT’s 1520, and they took the score out of an index of 216. In just sophomore year, Groothuis was achieving almost perfect scores on a test he wasn’t familiar with and didn’t study for. Is it luck or just pure genius?

After years of being a stellar student, Groothuis must’ve been confused as to why his principal would pull him out of class on a regular school day. Sitting normally in math class, Mr. Springer runs in telling him he was in very big trouble. “Then he switched his whole persona and told me that I became a National Merit Semifinalist and gave me my award that had a packet that said I was one of the 16,000 students,” says Groothuis. While 16,000 students may seem like a lot, that is really just a small percentage of students as there are 75.2 million students enrolled according to the CPS data. (

To be a part of that small percentage of students, you must work tirelessly throughout your high school years. Groothuis has strived to become valedictorian which he currently holds and hopes to keep the rest of the school year. Most seniors try to take easy classes their last year since they either want to take the easy way out or finish the year strong, but Groothuis pushes himself to a higher level. Taking 3 Advanced Placement and 3 Cambridge classes senior year can be a lot especially because of college applications and all of the senior year requirements that they have to do. I bet you’re wondering: how does he manage all of these classes?

Time management is a big part of Groothuis’s day-to-day life; he manages all of his classes, a job, sports, extracurricular activities, and his social life all in a day’s work. He tries to get some homework done during the school day since he has such a busy schedule. A day consists of going to school, and then after school, he has practice. The day follows with either the gym or work based on his work schedule, so he gets home at a later time. Once he is home, it’s time to get all of his homework and assignments done with just enough time to get some rest and do it all over again.

In addition to his time management, there are also some study habits that go into becoming a National Merit Semifinalist. While they might not work for everyone, they certainly work for him. “I’m a try hard in all of my classes so that helps because I try to take in all of the knowledge that I can.” says Groothuis. For a bigger test, he says, “I’ll study at least two days in advance. The first day would be like a real study session and the second day would be a review to see anything I need to go over again.” For smaller tests, he will review the class before or the night before. These methods may sound crazy to some students but it’s what he has found to work for him over the years.

In the end, Groothuis is a very hard-working student who always tries to put his best foot forward in school. He knows what he wants to do with his life and strives to achieve those goals every day. With everything he does on a daily basis, he makes it look insanely easy to everyone else. However, we know it took a lot of hard work and effort to get there.

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About the Contributor
Savannah Lebreton
Savannah Lebreton, Editor-in-Chief
Savannah Le Breton is a senior and has been on staff since freshman year. She has been an editor since sophomore year and is very passionate about pursuing journalism in college. She is a part of many clubs and has interests such as listening to music and going to the beach with her friends.

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