Seniors Kirsten Fisher and Matthew Tavarez have been selected as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. They are the only students who attend school in Sumter County to receive this recognition, according to the National Merit Scholarship Program publication. Semifinalists show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
More than 1.4 million students in nearly 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The 16,000 semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state and represent less than one percent of each state’s high school seniors. These students have the opportunity to continue in the competition for one of 7,500 Merit Scholarships that will be offered in the spring.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. 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. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 business organizations and higher-education institutions.