When River Falls High School senior Niko Zoller decided to take the PSAT, he thought it would just be a way to prepare for the ACT that he was going to take later that year. However, Zoller scored so well on the PSAT that he was named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.

"A National Merit scholarship was not originally on my radar when I took the PSAT. In order to be considered as a finalist I had to fill out a scholarship application including an essay and take the SAT to confirm my score," Zoller said. "Luckily I was selected to be one of the finalists. Finally I had to apply for a scholarship. Fortunately 3M in the Cities offers a scholarship through National Merit. I applied for the scholarship and was selected as the 3M sponsored National Merit finalist."

Zoller plans to study material science and engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison next fall with the hopes of becoming an engineer at a large company once he graduates.

"I feel very honored to be named a National Merit Scholar. To me, this scholarship was a reminder that hard work always pays off, sometimes in ways you don't expect," Zoller said.

With his high school career coming to a close, Zoller said he will remember many things about his time at RFHS.

"I have enjoyed many of my classes in high school but I'd have to say my favorite class was chemistry with Mrs. Steinmetz," Zoller said. "I'd like to say thank you to all my friends and teachers who helped me with my essays and letters of recommendation, especially Mr. GrothOlson who wrote me multiple letters for several different colleges and scholarships. I'd also like to say thank you to my parents for helping and supporting me through my high school career."

River Falls High School will hold its Class of 2019 commencement exercises on Sunday, June 2, at 1 p.m. in the high school's main gym.