Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fifty-one students named National Merit Semifinalists

The names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program were announced by officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).  These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $34 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 the competition.  About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Fifty-one Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools high school students were named 2013 National Merit Semifinalists.

Students from Carrboro High are:  Etienne Bovet, Audrey Copeland, Camilla Dohlman, Melaina Dyck, Kristen Lee and Colleen McCarthy.

Students from Chapel Hill High are:  Hannah Blackburn, Laurence Cecil, Willa Chen, Samuela Fernandes, Elizabeth Fox, Arun Ganesh, Thomas Greer, Wesley Guo, Michael Huang, Michelle Jin, Shiyi Li, Chiara Salemi, Caleb Stern, Kiera Turner and Charles Woldorff.

Students from East Chapel Hill High are:  Bernard Amaldoss, Eric Chiou, Nathan Cho, Quinlan Cullen, Mingming Dong, Bridget Dou, Mitchell Gelpi, Zhen Hu, Kelly Jiang, Sung-Hoon Kim, Diana Lamaute, Hannah Lee, Austin Liu, Amanda Lohmann, Sandhya Mahadevan, William McEntee, Troy Mitchell, Loreanne Oh, Nina Pande, Jacob Reed, Casey Smith, Tyler Tran, Joyce Wang, Alexandra Willcox, Lena Wilson, Maggie Xing, Alice Yu, Cissy Yu, Allen Zhou and Zhongshan Zhu.

NMSC, 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 NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC's goal of honoring the nation's scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.  The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of US high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.  The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.  The Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's essay and information about the Semifinalist's participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Approximately 15,000 Semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level and it is from this group that all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen.  Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious practice.

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