Dartmouth High student honored as National Merit semi-finalist

Oct 19, 2021

Dartmouth High School senior Jack Kertscher has earned the rare accomplishment of being one of only 344 students from across the state to be named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The honor, which is based on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test  taken by high school students, makes Kertscher eligible for finalist standing in the competition. About half of students named as finalists receive national merit scholarships and the designation of merit scholars.

He credits his success on the test with staying up to date with his academic classes. “A lot of the material is coming from what you’ve just learned,’’ he said. 

“I've always been a good test taker,’’ he said. “It definitely helps to be in some of the accelerated classes because I was ahead in the material.’’

Dartmouth High principal Ross Thibault praised Kertscher for his academic dedication. 

“No one takes more rigorous classes than Jack,’’ he said. “He is an exceptional student who works hard and is respected by the staff and by his peers.’’

Kertscher is involved in school well beyond academics. 

He serves as co-captain of the First Tech Challenge robotics team and is also lead programmer and driver for the UMass-based regional robotics team. 

He’s helped run the Dartmouth High School summer robotics camp for a number of summers, and this past summer he designed and taught a robotics camp for special needs kids at the Riverview School on Cape Cod. 

Not surprisingly, he has a fascination with computer science and hopes to study computer science in college. He has applied to Carnegie Mellon University for early decision admission. 

The school is “my top choice,’’ he said.

He has also served as president of the environmental club, which he is still involved with. Last year, he completed the Al Gore Climate Reality Leadership Training.

Jack’s mother, Kate Kertscher, credits his organizational skills with being able to combine activities with a rigorous academic curriculum.

“Jack is probably the most disciplined member of our family,’’ she said. “He hasn’t needed a whole lot of guidance. He has better study habits than I ever did.’’

Thibault said he reflects well on the Dartmouth High School community. 

“He has a bright future ahead of him and we’re proud of him,’’ he said.

Jack Kertscher said he appreciated the honor. “It’s nice to have all the hard work that I've put into my education be recognized,’’ he said. 

While this honor may reflect on just one test, “it’s still the product of years of hard work, and I am very grateful for everyone who has helped me along the way.’’