2 Manatee students semifinalists in National Achievement Scholarship program

MANATEE — Ashley Gilliam, of Braden River High School, and Kwesi Kwapong, of Southeast High School, are two of the 1,600 black high school seniors who were semifinalists in the 49th annual National Achievement Scholarship Program held by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

They’ll compete with other semifinalists next spring for approximately 800 scholarship awards totaling up to $2.5 million.

Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. They must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrate leadership abilities and educational goals.

They must present a record of high academic performance throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm their PSAT/NMSQT performance.