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Forty CCSD students recognized as 2023 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Charleston County School District (CCSD) is proud to announce that 40 students from the Class of 2023 are semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) released the names of more than 16,000 semifinalists last week.

The following CCSD students are 2023 semifinalists: 

Academic Magnet    

Joseph J. Benich
Nora W. Cheng
Lily K. Coulter 
Spence D. Cox
Maria E. Cymbalyuk
Summer D. Desouza
Elena S. Graham
Dennis C. Griffin
John Habakus
Samuel Henshaw
Ransome W. Hudson
Henry A. Hughes 
Sampson P. Kennedy
Irene Y. Liu 
Leo Li
Angela Mei
Elizabeth A. Murray
Daniel T. Orvin  
Finlay G. Palmer 
Lilly Skinner
Cooper A. Smith 
Jeffrey Song 
James H. Unger
Andrew M. Wallace
Willa R. Wiley
Moyu C. Yamaguchi
Elliott P. Yarborough
Alan Zhang

Charleston County School of the Arts

Ryan R. Dickerson
Aurora L. Drye
Anna Garziera

Lucy Beckham

Thomas W. Collins
Mila K. Ganaway
Peyton C. Matheson


Brody Bundis
Alexander Fister
Rowan Johnson
Sydney Lewis
Carson K. Walker
Inna Voloshchuk



Lucy Beckham High School is making its debut for this honor; this will be the school’s first-ever graduating class.

“As part of our first graduating class, these semifinalists represent not only the highest academic achievement but the strength and determination that the Class of 2023 embodies,” said Anna Dassing, Lucy Beckham’s principal. “They have worked tirelessly to overcome and persevere through a global pandemic to be top in their class and we could not be more proud of this incredible accomplishment.”

Academic Magnet High School leads the state with 27 semifinalists.

“These are students who have not only demonstrated academic excellence, but demonstrated excellence in challenging times given how disjointed these last few school years have been,” said Academic Magnet Principal Jake Perlmutter. “Staying focused, staying committed, and excelling through adversity is a remarkable accomplishment and these scholars and their families should be very proud of this recognition.”

These CCSD high school seniors are now competing for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth close to combined $28 million that will be awarded in the spring.

“We are so proud of our gifted semifinalists and their academic accomplishments,” explained Dr. Shannon Cook, principal of Charleston County School of the Arts. “This level of success results from their hard work, the rigorous instruction provided by their teachers and the support they receive from their families. We applaud our young artists and look forward to their future contributions and success.”