60 Scottsdale students named as Merit semifinalists

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Sixty semifinalists hail from Scottsdale schools.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition, according to a press release. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program, stated the release. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants, the release stated. 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, the release stated.

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, according to the release.

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.

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, stated the release.

According to the press release, there will be three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2016.

Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 250 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, stated the release.

In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,900 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2016 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 315,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

The following Scottsdale students have been named semifinalists:

BASIS School:

  • Attias, Shir D.
  • Auer, Garrett P.
  • Batte, Praneeth B.
  • Calhoun, Casey S.
  • Carlson, Mia L.
  • Chu, Vanessa
  • Cohen, Alex S.
  • Conway, Claire E.
  • Gilmour, Sebastien N.
  • Godart, Maxime J.
  • Gupta, Arjun S.
  • Jenkins, Keanan A.
  • Kannan, Nithin V.
  • Kim, Chan H.
  • Kim, Young Han
  • Kovach, Kyle N.
  • Krishnan, Abijith
  • Krishnan, Malavika
  • Lincoln, Rachel B.
  • Lincoln, Samuel B.
  • Malladi, Rohith
  • Ono, Amalia M.
  • Popescu, Alexander C.
  • Sharma, Jayati R.
  • Soni, Jayden R.
  • Tagliarini, Nicholas A.
  • Vange, Hannah G.
  • Wong, Luke Y.
  • Wu, Kathleen J.
  • Yang, George Z.
  • Yang, Xingyu
  • Yiu, Ryan

Chaparral High School:

  • Bartlett, Maxwell M.
  • Fraser, Casey A.
  • Frohna, Amalia E.
  • German, Jamie D.
  • Jorden, Allison A.
  • Struckman, Sophia
  • Whitaker, Brynne E.

Desert Mountain High School:

  • Acosta, Brian J.
  • DeStigter, Rachel S.
  • Fairbanks, Austin K.
  • Goldstein, Michel D.
  • Iglesias, Ricardo A.
  • Johnson, Michael C.
  • Kireopoulos, Caroline M.
  • Melin, Amanda

Horizon High School:

  • Cho, Andrew S.
  • Garland, Diana M.
  • Geren, Whitney H.

Notre Dame Preparatory High School:

  • Cartwright, Avery C.

Rancho Solano Preparatory School:

  • Khosla, Karan

Saguaro High School:

  • Samanta, Andrew E.
  • Silver, Noah A.

Scottsdale Preparatory Academy:

  • Bailey, Anne E.
  • Everroad, Haley
  • McCollum, Shea L.
  • Shelly, Hayden M.
  • Twait, Andrew J.
  • Whitley, Megan E.

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