From School District 204
National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced on Wednesday that 26 District 204 students are semifinalists in the 56th annual National Merit Scholarship program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,400 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 million.
The 26 students from District 204 receiving this honor are: Pooja S. Bag, Eileen Y. Brister, Brian C. Cabinian, Christina M. Delnero, Erik J. Elmgren, Joshua D. Ferguson, Mishka Gidwani, Robin A. Harland, Jordan Hughes, Matthew J. Karlin, Hope E. Kerkhoff, Joey Kim, Abhas Misraraj, Naveen Pokala, Ryan D. Schiller, Meredith E. Staub, Emily A. Vernon, Rebecca L. Vernon, Danica H. Yu and Nan Zhao from Neuqua Valley High School and Laura E. Burns, Scott P. Kottkamp, John P. O'Neill, Sheryl Wang, Casey B. Ytterberg and Patrick Zhao from Waubonsie Valley High School.
More than 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2011 National Merit Program by taking the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of 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, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier qualifying test performance. The Semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's self-descriptive essay and information about participation and leadership in school and community activities. Finalists are announced in March of each year.
National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is an Evanston-based, not-for-profit organization that was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 450 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.