December 07, 2023

NHS senior is Newton’s third consecutive National Merit Scholar semifinalist

Leo Friedman eligible to advance in competition for large scholarship

Newton senior Leo Friedman, center, poses with parents Robyn and Bryan Friedman on Sept. 16 at Newton High School after being named a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Newton senior Leo Friedman is one of more than 16,000 semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program this year. Which means for the past three years in a row Newton High School has produced three consecutive semifinalists to be eligible for a sizable scholarship.

According to a press release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the academically talented high school seniors who have been chosen have an opportunity to continue in the competition and have a chance to receive one of the 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million.

To be considered for a scholarship, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing. Which means about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

In the past, Newton High School graduates Courtney Dawson and Trycen Garton have become semifinalists in the program. Shelly Fitzgerald, school counselor at Newton High School, was thrilled to see yet another student qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.

“Newton High School is honored to have three students in three years recognized for this prestigious award,” Fitzgerald. “This is a great honor and reward for the students as it represents years of hard work and dedication to learning. NHS is proud of Leo and our past National Merit Finalists.”

Leo Friedman is the son of Bryan and Robyn Friedman.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 560 or at

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.