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 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state—and several North Central students made the list this year.
Semifinalists from Sunnyslope High School include: Jeremy Becker, Zoe Friese, Derek Gemar, McKenna Kellner, and Michael Perry. Danielle Zylstra from Thunderbird High School also was named a semifinalist.
In addition, 16 seniors at Brophy College Preparatory were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. Among them are North Central residents Cameron MacKenzie, Jack Callahan, Johnny Schantz and Nikolas Kirk.
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 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.