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Celebrating Two National Merit Semifinalists at Central Catholic

Celebrating Two National Merit Semifinalists at Central Catholic

Congratulations to Arnav Lele '24 and Navin Ramesh '24, who have been named Semifinalists in the prestigious 2024 National Merit® Scholarship Program competition. Arnav and Navin are exceptional leaders inside and outside the classroom!

Navin Ramesh '24 and Arnav Lele '24 holding balloons

They are among only 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide from the over 1.3 million students who entered the 2024 National Merit® Scholarship Program. They will now continue in the competition for approximately 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million which will be awarded in Spring 2024.

Navin Ramesh '24 and Arnav Lele '24 with the principal and president

"The entire Central Catholic community is incredibly proud of all of these outstanding students," said Mrs. Doreen Keller '71PMA, Principal. "They continuously impress us with their incredible accomplishments, and we have faith that they will continue to accomplish amazing things in the future."

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship Award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95% of Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist status and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

School leaders with balloons

Mrs. Keller and Mr. Christopher Sullivan '81, President, led a team of faculty and staff into Arnav's and Navin's AP Physics classroom on Wednesday afternoon to make the announcement and celebrate their accomplishments.

Arnav Lele '24 congratulated by president
Arnav Lele '24 and Navin Ramesh '24 with classmates


Arnav Lele '24 in library

About Arnav

  • Hometown: Chelmsford
  • Middle School: Ste Jeanne d'Arc School, Lowell


  • Raider Boys Varsity Tennis Team, Captain
  • Student Ambassadors
  • National Honor Society
  • DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America)

Arnav, who aspires to be an aerospace engineer, is well on his path to making his dream come true by applying to some of the top aerospace programs in the country.

Arnav feels strongly that his CCHS teachers have impacted his growth and academic success.

Arnav Lele '24 at the podium

"I would like to specially mention Mr. Griffin (Mr. Brian Griffin, Science Teacher) and Mr. Boucher (Mr. Eric Boucher '04, Math Teacher) for nurturing my love of physics and math and for supporting my academic progress."

"I would also like to thank Principal Keller (Mrs. Doreen Keller '71PMA) and Mr. Sullivan (Mr. Christopher Sullivan '81) for their support and guidance throughout my Central Catholic journey."

Arnav Lele '24 with the principal

In addition to excelling academically, Arnav serves as Captain of the CCHS Tennis Team, Student Ambassadors, National Honor Society, and DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America).

He also makes time to volunteer for a multitude of organizations in need.

"I really enjoyed volunteering at the ReStore for Habitat for Humanity where I was able to help store, refurbish, and build donated home goods that were given to people in need. I also helped with Serving Stars, a USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning chapter that provides tennis, fitness, and educational enrichment programming to students in Lawrence, one of the most underserved communities in Massachusetts."

Arnav Lele '24 moving a table with a classmate

"Central Catholic is special, because it is more than a school community… It truly is a family," said Arnav. "The support and love felt in the Central Catholic family is unmatched. The friendships and connections I have made at CCHS will stay with me forever."

Arnav Lele '24 with teachers

Above photo: Arnav with Mr. Matthew Sansoucie '06 and Mr. Mark Svendsen.

Outside of CCHS, Arnav enjoys playing the drums and participating in club tennis for Willows Tennis Club in North Andover.

Arnav Lele '24 and Zacharay Channen '22

Above photo: Arnav in the spring of 2022 with Raider Tennis teammate and 2022 National Merit Finalist Zachary Channen '22, who is now studying at Harvard University.


Navin Ramesh '24 at Visions Coffeehouse

About Navin

  • Hometown: North Chelmsford
  • Middle School: Ste Jeanne d'Arc School, Lowell


  • Student Council E-Board
  • Student Ambassadors
  • Student Alumni Association
  • DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America)
  • IYNA Neuroscience Club
  • Gavel Club
  • National Honor Society (NHS), NHS E-Board
  • Cross Country
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Visions Literary & Arts Magazine, Coffeehouse
  • Campus Ministry
  • Outside of CCHS
    • FEMA National Youth Preparedness Council
    • Volunteer for Sudanese American Medical Association
    • Congressional Intern for Massachusetts' 3rd District
    • Director of Recruitment at Interns 4-Good
    • American Red Cross and Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer,
    • Tutoring

Navin aspires to one day enter the medical field, specializing in pain management or surgery.

"I want to become involved with public policy, enabling me to serve through medicine in impoverished areas in the U.S. and beyond, combating both physical pain and the pain of poverty. I am also hoping to serve in the armed forces at some point in my career."

Navin Ramesh '24

Navin attributes much of his success to the support he received from his teachers at CCHS. “I’d like to thank several of my teachers including Ms. Burns (Ms. Jeanne Burns, Academic Dean), Ms. Ciccolo (Ms. Stacy Ciccolo, Social Studies Teacher), Mr. McCarthy (Mr. Kevin McCarthy, Director of School & College Counseling), Mr. Benedetto (Mr. Robert Benedetto '89, Science Teacher) and Mr. Dumas (Mr. Shawn Dumas, School & College Counselor) for being coaches, teachers, mentors, and role models for me throughout my time at Central. There are many, many more faculty and staff members who have made my CCHS experience special!"

In addition to excelling academically, Navin serves on the Student Council (Exec. Board), Student Ambassadors, Student Alumni Association, DECA, IYNA Neuroscience Club, Gavel Club, National Honor Society (Exec. Board), Cross Country, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Visions Coffeehouse and Magazine, and Campus Ministry.

Navin Ramesh '24 running in a cross country meet

Navin also volunteers for several organizations including the American Red Cross, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and the Medical Reserve Corps at local and national events and fundraisers, to name a few.

"Leading and attending retreats, orientations, and other events with Campus Ministry and working with incoming classes through Student Ambassadors are among my favorite involvements at Central," said Navin.

Navin Ramesh '24 with the president

"CCHS fosters a community of such kind and open people, resulting in a welcoming and close-knit atmosphere created by all the students and faculty who call Central home," said Navin.

Navin Ramesh '24 at podium

Outside of CCHS, Navin is also a member of the FEMA National Youth Preparedness Council, a volunteer for Sudanese American Medical Association, a Congressional Intern for Massachusetts' 3rd District, Director of Recruitment at Interns 4-Good, a volunteer for the American Red Cross and Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer. He also tutors.

Navin’s sister Ranjana Ramesh '23, who was Co-Valedictorian for the CCHS Class of 2023 and was also a National Merit Semifinalist and Finalist, is currently studying at Brown University (RI).

The Ramesh Family with Mr. Merrill


National Merit Scholarship Program logo

About the National Merit® Scholarship Program

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®) have announced the names of more than 16,000 Semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 320 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system, or state.

Steps in the 2024 Competition

Over 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool
of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2024. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 840 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 160 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2024 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 375,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.