DHS juniors named as National Merit semifinalists

Delano High School juniors Anne Janas and Maureen Lax have been named as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation on Sept. 11 announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 59th annual National Merit competition. These academically talented high school seniors can continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $35 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of competition. About 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

The Scholarship Corportation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Scholarships are underwritten by the corporation with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, school system or state.

For information about the competition, visit NMSC’s website at www.nationalmerit.org.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screening of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

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