GSSM Celebrates 16 National Merit Finalists

Hartsville, SC – The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) is pleased to announce that 16 members of the class of 2018 were recently named National Merit Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). These academically motivated students are now eligible for continued competition in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

GSSM's National Merit Finalists are:

James Byrne, child of Diana and Dr. Tom Byrne of Barnwell
Kendall Cole, child of Christine and Joseph Cole of Chapin
Hunter Cox, child of Michelle and James Cox of Lake View
Nick Deas, child of Lisa and Reggie Deas of Hilton Head Island
Scott Driggers, child of Karen and Martin S. Driggers, Jr. of Lamar
Rondel Garguilo, child of Takisha Dunham and Ronald Garguilo of Effingham
Rasikh Hamid, child of Nausheen and Hadi Hamid of Beaufort
Anna K. Hewitt, child of Karen S. and Kent E. Hewitt of Aiken
Eesha Maisuria, child of Himaxi and Mukesh Maisuria of Lexington
Shirley Mathur, child of Anuradha Verma and Sharad Mathur of Tega Cay
Jacob Steele Palchak, child of Dori S. and Alan J. Palchak of Hilton Head Island
Christopher R. Poston, child of Dr. Jenny N. and Robert A. Poston of Rock Hill
Brennan Ravan, child of Sarah and J. Scott Ravan of Columbia
Melissa Nicole Shugart, child of Shelley H. and Todd S. Shugart of Carlisle
Ishrat Singh, child of Baljinder Kaur and Jagjit Singh of Irmo
Jaden Tennis, child of Glenda and Paul Tennis of Fort Mill
"We are proud of all our National Merit Finalists this year, as they continue to represent the high quality and achievement of the best STEM students in the state of South Carolina," said Dr. Hector Flores, GSSM president.

All 16 finalists will now compete for approximately 7,500 scholarships worth more than $33 million that will be offered later this spring.

The National Merit Competition begins with students taking the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). Semifinalists across the nation are then named based on the highest-scoring entrants in each state. A student becomes a finalist based on academic record, high school principal endorsement, and an SAT score confirming their qualifying test score.

Over half of the National Merit Finalists will be awarded a scholarship. Scholarship awards will be announced beginning in March 2018 and concluding in June. For more information, visit

About GSSM
Founded in 1988 as a model for advanced STEM education in South Carolina, GSSM is a nationally recognized school serving about four hundred of the state's most accomplished scholars in the 10th through 12th grades through its residential and virtual programs. The school offers uniquely advanced courses in science, mathematics, and engineering at its campus in Hartsville and virtually to partner school districts across the state. Learn more by visiting

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