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Eight Penn students named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Penn High School Principal Sean Galiher and Counseling Center Director John Westra with Penn's eight National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

 

Penn High School Principal Sean Galiher and Counseling Center Director John Westra announced that eight Penn students have earned the distinction of being a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

 

Amy Bernard, Xi (Chelsea) Chen, Aidan Kaczanowski, Brandon King, Tingyi Lu, Corey Wang, Eric Wood, and Tianle Zhang have been named National Merit Scholarship Finalists, and are eligible for National Merit Scholarships.

 

"We are very excited for our 2019 National Merit Scholarship Finalists,” Galiher said. “This is a tremendous accomplishment that reflects the collective efforts of each student, their teachers and family.  Penn High School and our teachers take great pride in challenging our students and preparing them through rigorous and relevant coursework."  

 

This year, there were approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors had an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists had to fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

 

More than 1.6 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 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 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 advanced to the Finalist level.

 

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.

 

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2019. 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 180 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 2019 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join some 338,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.