Dozens of local students were among the about 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, the Evanston, Illinois-based National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced last month.

These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered in the spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.

Over 90% of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and they will be notified in February. About half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title, and they will be announced in four nationwide news releases in April through July.

The local semifinalists are:

Atlanta Classical: Charlotte N. Taylor

Atlanta International: Robert Joseph

Atlanta Jewish: Eliana Goldin and Zechariah D. Mainzer

Campbell: Natasha Dorr-Kapczynski, Samantha A. Hong, Youssef Jaafar, Isabella Jaramillo Celis, Damon Lin and Eden O. Rowe

Ben Franklin: Jonas L. Iskander

Galloway: Jaden N. Ellman

Holy Spirit Prep: William Arnold and Manuel A. Yepes

Homeschooled: Edmund D. Brons of Sandy Springs

Lovett: Jackson C. Borden, Edward D. Burch, Blake W. Degner, Riya Govin, William T. Neville, Sarah Packman and Duncan J. Park

North Atlanta: Chauncey L. Carpenter

North Springs: Ethan Goldberg, Aviel E. Pearlman and Joline Speck

Pace: Aidan S. Gannon, Anna M. Jordan, Maya J. Kaplan, Andrew G. Neville, John L. O’Brien, Alan M. Tapper, Francesca Vaneri and Elisabeth C. Wierman

St. Pius X: Ty G. Mancao and Tatiana C. Solsrud

Wesleyan: Meredith A. Mangum, Braden J. Thorne and Andrew A. Yang

Westminster: Ridings A. Bald, James D. Blitch, Anup S. Bottu, Jonathan D. Bowman, Sara A. Brackett, Matthew W. Cha, Claire Z. Chen, Jonathan Y. Fang, Dhruva J. Ghosh, Gillian R. Gracey, Lauren M. Kennedy, Kathryn A. Krupczak, Albert J. Liang, Caroline G. Lingle, Sydney E. Martin, Richard W. McPhail, Anna C. Miller, Rhea Z. Niyyar, Henry W. Rosenblath, Laura E. Sams, Cole Seagroves, Sameer N. Sinha, Brooke M. Stevens, Catherine J. Wang, Zhimei Xu and Claire J. Zhou

Whitefield: Anne E. Edwards

Woodward: William M. Daly, Nishita Ghanate, William R. Gore and Samuel A. Wombough

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. 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, the semifinalist and a high school official 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 or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.


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