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OBEN Students Earn National Merit Honors

national merit winners with staff

Pictured from left are Oyster Bay High School Assistant Principal Mr. Kevin Leach, Oyster Bay High School Principal Ms. Sharon Lasher, National Merit Scholarship Program Semi-Finalist Nicholas Tardugno, Commended Scholar Matthew Wong, School Counselor Ms. Rebecca Lieberman, and Supervisor of Counseling Services Ms. Sabrina Meehan.


Two Oyster Bay High School seniors earned honors in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  Oyster Bay High School senior Nicholas Tardugno was named a semi-finalist and Matthew Wong was named a Commended Scholar for high performance on the preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.


As a semi-finalist, Nicholas is among 16,000 of the brightest students in the nation who will compete for nearly 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million. To advance to the finals, Nicholas must submit his outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm his earlier performance on the PSAT/NMQT. Finalists are announced in February and winners are selected in the spring.


Nicholas, an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar with Distinction, challenges himself with a rigorous course load and is on track to earn the AP Capstone Diploma, the highest diploma a student can earn in high school. He has received numerous academic honors including a Bausch and Lomb Science Award, Excellence in Mathematics and Excellence in Science. As a Boy Scout he was named Honor Camper at Onteora Scout Reservation two years in a row. A star in the classroom and on the track, Nicholas was All-County in Cross Country and Winter Track in 10th and 11th grade, and captained both teams last year. He has held the title of Cross Country MVP for the past two years. Nicholas earned Cross Country All-Conference in 9th grade, Spring Track All-Division in 10th grade, and has been a Cross Country State Qualifier for three consecutive years. Nicholas has been a member of Club 4:12, a religious club, for the past three years. He also participated in several community service projects, such as decorating pumpkins and making gift bags for children at Cohen’s Children’s Hospital and making heart-shaped bowls to raise funds for St. Francis Heart Hospital’s pediatric department.


Nicholas said of the achievement, “I feel relieved; I thought I was up there. I am glad to be a semi-finalist and continue in the competition.”


Matthew, who hopes to study chemical engineering in college, said he was glad to receive the honor and to be recognized for working hard. Matthew takes an equally challenging course load of AP and college-level courses. Among his numerous honors, he is an AP Scholar of Distinction, recipient of the University of Rochester George Eastman Young Leaders’ Award and The Renaissance Award. Involved in school beyond the classroom, Matthew has been Student Council Treasurer since freshman year. He created the Sports Volunteering Club, which provides volunteer opportunities for students with community-based youth sports leagues. He is a member of the Student-Athletic Leadership Program (SALP) and is also a reporter for the school newspaper, The Harbour Voice. Outside of school, Matthew participated in a junior internship program at S & P Global Inc. this past summer where he learned about market analysis techniques. He is a talented musician who successfully completed the New York State Music Association (NYSSMA) piano solo events for levels 1-6 and teaches piano to beginners of all ages and abilities. He also tutors middle and high school students in mathematics, Spanish, science, and English. 


As a Commended Scholar, Matthew is among 34,000 or more than two-thirds of the 50,000 highest scorers. While Commended Scholars do not continue in the competition for scholarships, some of these students may be candidates for special scholarships provided by corporate and business sponsors.


“We are proud of these exemplary students and congratulate them on their outstanding achievements,” said Oyster Bay High School Principal Ms. Sharon Lasher. “They are testaments to what can be achieved through hard work and dedication, and by taking advantage of the many opportunities at Oyster Bay High School.”