All About the Children

Manatee students named among National Merit semifinalists

Ten Manatee County students from three different schools were named at National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists Wednesday.

The high school seniors are now able to compete for about 7,500 scholarships totaling more than $33 million that will be announced in the spring. About 90 percent of the 16,000 semifinalists are expected to be named a finalist and half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

The non-for-profit organization was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by the program with its own funds and by approximately 420 business organizations and higher education institutions.

Manatee County semifinalists include:

  • Lauren Blair, Manatee High School.
  • Megan Johnston, Manatee High School.
  • Savannah Kiwacz, Manatee High School.
  • Valerie Kreisel, Manatee High School.
  • Alexandra van den Ochtend, Manatee High School.
  • Madelyn Kumar, Southeast High School.
  • Emma Jones, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
  • MaryAnn Placheril, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
  • Alexander Siegal, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.
  • Hiu Lam Vanessa Yan, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.

To become a finalist, the students and the high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalists academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

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.

Meghin Delaney: 941-745-7081, @MeghinDelaney