MHS senior going to Scholarship semis
He will be among 7,500 competing for chance at prize
Richard Nakatsuka has achieved semifinalist status in the National Merit Scholarship competition.
MIDDLETOWN » Middletown High School senior Richard Nakatsuka has achieved semifinalist status in the National Merit Scholarship competition. Nakatsuka is one of just 16,000 students nationwide to achieve this status, which places him among the top 1 percent of the 1.6 million students who took the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, according to a press release.
Nakatsuka and the other semifinalists will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered in the spring.
To be considered, students must fulfill several requirements to advance to finalist standing, the release said. Each student must submit a detailed scholarship application which includes information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.
Further, the student must have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the PSAT qualifying test.
The qualifying test included a reading section, writing and language test and mathematics test.
Nakatsuka, the son of Calvin Nakatsuka and Katherine Takaki of Acorn Drive in Middletown, is the features editor of the school’s award-winning newspaper Blue Prints, and has served as staff writer and entertainment editor, according to the release.
Nakatsuka is a three-year member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and a member of the Student Council and Gay-Straight Student Alliance. He also is a member of the school’s acclaimed DECA organization’s competition team who won a first place award in the state DECA competition in the spring.
Nakatsuka plays the mellophone in the marching band, the French horn in the concert band and is principal cellist in the string orchestra at MHS. He was named to the Connecticut Music Educator’s Association Southern Regional High School Orchestra both in 2015 and in the spring. He is a private cello instructor and teacher’s assistant at Keigwin Middle School in the Elizabeth Swaim String Program.
Nakatsuka also played in the pit orchestra for the drama club’s productions of “Bye-Bye Birdie” and “Les Miserables” and performed in the Elm City Chamberfest in grades 10 and 11, the release continued.
He was a member of the crew team and is a competitive figure skater and has participated in a variety of field tests and competitions.
Nakatsuka volunteered in a variety of musical endeavors throughout the area, as the designer for the Middletown Symphonic Band website, the creator of the school Snapchat geofilter, and was a runner and judge for Champion’s Basic Skills Competition in Cromwell, a helper in the CMEA Southern Regionals, and food sorter for the Connecticut Food bank in Wallingford in each of the last three years and has been part of team Invinceable in the Relay for Life Program every year since the eighth grade.
Among his academic awards are achieving high honor roll status throughout high school and was a winner of the Wesleyan Book Award for academic excellence his junior year.
Middletown High School senior Richard Nakatsuka is a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship contest.