Less than one percent of high school seniors in the United States qualified as a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program, and four hail from Manatee County.
More than 1.6 million students took the preliminary test as juniors, and about 16,000 semifinalists — now in their senior year — are competing for $31 million in awards, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
Locally, those students are:
- Grace Hill, of Braden River High School.
- Anthony LaMarc, of Lakewood Ranch High School.
- Cassandra Atzrodt, of Southeast High School.
- Trevor Johnson, of State College of Florida Collegiate School.
The students must now submit a record of their grades, community involvement, employment, awards and leadership qualities.
“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,” the organization said in a news release.
More than 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to enter the final round, and about half of the finalists are expected to earn a scholarship.
Winners in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program will join approximately 338,000 students who achieved “Merit Scholar” status in past years, according to the release. The winners will be announced next year, between April and July.
“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,” the release states.