St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy Senior Therese Biese Named National Merit Scholar Semifinalist

November 23, 2022

St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy Senior Therese G. Biese has been named a 2023 National Merit® Scholar Semifinalist. 

The National Merit® Scholarship Program, initiated in 1955, honors the nation’s individual students who show exceptional academic ability, pursuit of academic excellence, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. 

This rigorous recognition program begins in a student’s junior year of high school, when millions of juniors take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®,) which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. Therese was among the top scoring students in the nation for that qualifying test and she ranked in the top one percent of (now) U.S. high school seniors for academic achievement. 

Of the about 16,000 students who are honored as Semifinalists, about 95 percent are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit® Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. To qualify as a Finalist and earn the Merit Scholar® title, Therese and other Semifinalists must submit a detailed academic record, provide a recommendation from a school leader, write an essay, earn an SAT® or ACT® score that confirms their earlier performance on the qualifying test, and provide an outline of school and community involvement that demonstrates leadership abilities, honors, and awards. National Merit finalists will be announced in February or March of 2023.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization, was established in 1955 specially to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program and honor the nation’s scholastic champions and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence. 

St. Ignatius Chesterton Academy, which serves students grades 9 through 12, opened in fall 2021 in Kaukauna. Therese is the high school’s first Semifinalist. The high school was an expansion to the existing St. Ignatius Catholic School–the region’s only Catholic classical school–which serves students 3K through grade 8 in Kaukauna. 

For more information about the National Merit ® Scholarship Program, visit