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Commended Students - National Merit® Scholarship Program

Commended Students - National Merit® Scholarship Program

Congratulations to the Central Catholic seniors who were recently recognized by the 2024 National Merit® Scholarship Program as "Commended Students" - Yanni Haginicolas '24 and Chase Watkins '24.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes academically talented high school students.

CCHS Principal Mrs. Doreen Keller '71PMA presented the students with a Letter of Commendation for their academic accomplishments.

"The entire Central Catholic community is incredibly proud of the academic success of these talented students," said Mrs. Doreen Keller. "We are confident that they will all achieve amazing accomplishments moving forward."

Commended Students

National Merit Semifinalists

In addition to our Commended Students, two Central Catholic students have been recognized as Nation Merit Finalists: Arnav Lele '24 and Navin Ramesh '24Click here to read more about our National Merit Semifinalists.


National Merit Scholarship Program logo

About the 'Commended Students' Program

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2024 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2024 competition by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). The program is offered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation – a not-for-profit organization that recognizes academically talented high school students.

Meet the Scholars...

Yanni Haginicolas '24

Yanni Haginicolas '24

  • National Merit® Commended Student
  • Hometown: Haverhill
  • Middle School: Nettle Middle School

Yanni is a successful student-athlete participating in Raider Varsity Ice Hockey, Raider Lacrosse, and a Club Hockey program off campus.

With a long-term goal of entering the business world, he appreciates the guidance he has received from CCHS faculty and staff members on campus.

"Mr. Dumas (Mr. Shawn Dumas, School & College Counselor) has been a great counselor throughout my high school career, and he really helped my transition to Central Catholic go smoothly."

"Central Catholic is just such a great environment for student life," said Yanni. "It’s so easy to find friends and get involved in fun activities, and that overall benefits every aspect of the school. When you go to class happy and excited for the day, learning is definitely easier!"

In addition to academics, Yanni has also really enjoyed spending time at the West Newbury Fire Department learning about firefighting.

Yanni’s brother Jose Haginicolas '24 is also a senior at CCHS.

Chase Watkins '24

Chase Watkins '24

  • National Merit® Commended Student
  • Hometown: Atkinson, NH
  • Middle School: Sacred Hearts School (Bradford, MA)

Chase is an aspiring Civil Engineer with a dream of going to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for college. 

In addition to his academics, Chase has been a member of the Raider Boys Swim and Dive Team, Knitting Club, and Raider Boys Volleyball. He also works for the YMCA.

Chase makes time to serve others by volunteering for the entire summer at YMCA Camp Lincoln and visiting House of Mercy in Lawrence to help feed and give resources to those in need.

Though Chase believes all of his teachers have supported him throughout his CCHS experience, he had a specific faculty shout-out.

"Mr. Griffin (Mr. Brian Griffin, Science Teacher) has helped me understand and want to explore physics and engineering. I really like the way he teaches, and I think I've learned more in his classes than any others."

"I feel that the sense of community that I have at Central is really unique," said Chase. "I find it easy to connect and talk to everyone that I meet here."