From left, LAHS Principal Brad Parker with students named semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program Robert Zhu, Wilbur Wang, Justin Lemke, Opale Schappert, Rose Click, Michelle Yang, Jennifer Wang, Zephram Tripp, Nicolas Dowdy and Andrew Tang and Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus. Not pictured – Megan Kornreich and Darcy Turin. Courtesy photo
Today officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Los Alamos High School is pleased to announce that 13 members of the Class of 2017 have received this distinction.
Members of the Class of 2017 receiving this distinction include: Rose Click, Nicolas Dowdy, Megan Kornreich, Justin Lemke, Opale Shappert, Andrew Tang, Zephram Tripp, Darcy Turin, Jennifer Wang, Wilbur Wang, Michelle Yang and Robert Zhu.
“We are very proud of our 2017 National Merit Semifinalists,” Principal Brad Parker said. “These students are truly a positive reflection of what our school stands for, the dedication of our staff here at Los Alamos High School and the support of their parents, family and friends.”
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $33 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 more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
The National Merit Semifinalists and their parents were honored at a luncheon today hosted by the principal. Also in attendance were Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, Assistant Principals Renee Dunwoody and Carter Payne, Athletic Director Ann Stewart and other guests. The luncheon was catered by teacher Rebecca Jones and her Culinary Arts, Child Development and Prostart students.
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 goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Steps in the 2017 Competition
About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 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 one percent 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 his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information out 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. 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 preference.
National Merit Scholarships
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2017. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2017 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 323,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.