(Posted Sept. 25, 2019)
Two Madison County area students are among the approximately 16,000 high school seniors named as semifinalists in the 65th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program. They are Kent Gingerich of Plain City, a student at Shekinah Christian School, and Caleb Arteaga of West Jefferson, a student at West Jefferson High School.
More than 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, which served as an initial screen 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. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
National Merit semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,600 scholarships worth more than $31 million to be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, a semifinalist must submit an application in which they provide information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards. More than 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
The National Merit Scholarship Corp., a non-profit organization, and about 400 business organization and higher education institutions underwrite the scholarships.