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NFA Senior, Aarav Shah, Semi-Finalist for National Merit Scholarship


Pictured with Aarav are Ms. Susan Valentino, NFA Co-principal and Ms. Julissa Wilson, school guidance counselor.


Aarav Shah, a 12th grade scholar at Newburgh Free Academy’s Main Campus is a semi-finalist for the 2023 National Merit Scholarship program. Aarav is one of 166 National Merit Semifinalists in the Hudson Valley. These high school seniors will continue to compete for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

Currently the Vice President of the class of 2023, vice president of the Key Club, and President of the NFA Debate team. As a junior, Aarav was the co-president of the NYS Science Honor Society. Aarav is a leader in his school both academically and in extracurricular activities.

As a member of the NFA Debate team, Aarav qualified for Hudson Valley Districts in 11th grade and reached the quarterfinals of the Pennsbury Falcon Invitational tournament. He is working to qualify for nationals in 2023. Aarav has been playing the clarinet since he was in third grade and was elected vice president of the NFA Wind Ensemble this year.

Aarav has been on the NFA Varsity Tennis team since 7th grade. He is 1st singles and team captain, for both 11th and 12th grade. He finished second place in 2019 and 2021 and third in 2022 in the Section 9 Boys Tennis tournament and qualified for the NYSPHSAA Boys Tennis Championships in 2019 and 2022. Outside of school, Aarav volunteers at Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital and coached younger athletes tennis for the Newburgh Goldback Tennis Club. Aarav is interested in medical equipment and wants to explore critical devices in the medical field. After being accepted and participating in two summer programs related to biomedical engineering, Aarav decided to major in biomedical engineering in college on a pre-med path. He intends to be a physician and is currently exploring his options for post-secondary education. Aarav’s brother, Arnav Shah was named a Commended Student in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit Scholarships Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 950 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 180 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 2023 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 368,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholarship.

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