Manogue’s Very Own National Merit Semifinalist, Jayson Viles


Jayson Viles, Manogue’s National Merit Semifinalist poses for his senior portrait. Photo courtesy of the Bishop Manogue Yearbook Staff.

Adrianna Osmetti, Editor-in-Chief

In October, high school students around the nation take the 2 hours, 45 minutes PSAT test. This exam is broken down into three sections of reading, writing and math. The test emphasizes reasoning and knowledge skills, and is an indicator of the student’s potential performance in higher education, and ultimately in obtaining the National Merit Scholarship. Of the 1.6 million students who take the PSAT, only 1%(16,000) achieve the National Merit Semifinalist level. For more information about this test, refer to ( At Bishop Manogue, students Jada Brown, Theodore Hall, Catherine Hammond, Michael Hayashi, Matthew Shepherd, Eleanor Salkoff, and Jayson Viles excelled on the PSAT and were commended for the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. Out of these seven, Jayson Viles achieved National Merit Semifinalist status, distinguishing himself among the best and brightest.

Viles humbly attributes his success to “luck” as well as a lifelong emphasis on education. He did not complete any specific preparation for the PSAT test, but mentions that his classes have him well-prepared for standardized testing. Viles keeps his routine consistent going into standardized tests and tries not to put too much pressure on himself. His advice to those taking standardized tests are to skip questions and come back to them, and to feel confident after finishing a section. With reading being at the forefront of his hobbies, he encourages students, particularly, freshmen and sophomores to read. He believes this is what made him most successful on the PSAT, and advises that instead of reading works from school literature books, students should read what interests them. Training the eye by reading at a natural speed on a consistent basis has been shown to improve reading speed as well as comprehension that is critical to scoring well on any standardized test including the PSAT, SAT, and ACT.

In his free time, reading and writing occupy the majority of Viles’ attention. He loves to explore the worlds authors create, and hopes to build a few of his own one day. Creative writing has been a focus for him as of late, taking a few classes outside of school to improve and practice his skills. While he is considering writing as a career path, he is also exploring multiple other majors to study in college such as psychology. Viles has decided to start his college career off close to home and will be attending UNR in the fall, something he is excited about and certainly prepared for if his PSAT and National Merit Semifinalist status is any indicator.

Viles has made the Bishop Manogue community proud and we are excited to see what successful future awaits him.