National Merit semifinalists include 16 local students among 16K nationwide

Rick Wagner • Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Sixteen Tri-Cities students are among about 16,000 semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced Wednesday.

The 16 are as follows.

From Science Hill: Justin M. Canfield, Molly Hance, Zeyun Wang, Clay Y. Wheeler and Isaac G. Wright.

From University School: Sydney M. Thomas.

From David Crockett: Corbin T. Cowden and Abigail Stuart.

From Dobyns-Bennett: Ashley D. Batts, John L. Corker, Nathaniel Silvey, Kate L. Tolleson and Rithvik Vutukuri.

From homeschools (all in Kingsport): Alex W. Crow, Elizabeth E. Dotson and Matthew Daniel.

“These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring,” according to a news release from NMSC. To be considered for an 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.

The 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 that share the organization’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

The NMSC says that using numbers of semifinalists to compare high schools, educational systems or states will result in erroneous conclusions. The program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system or state. For more information about the competition, visit NMSC’s website at www.nationalmerit.org.

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