One Hundred Seven High School Seniors Reach National Merit Scholarship Semifinals

September 17, 1999
One hundred seven 12th grade students have been named semifinalists in the year 2000 National Merit Scholarship competition.

The local students represent 36 percent of the 296 semifinalists in Maryland, who will compete with about 16,000 students nationally for some 7,600 Merit Scholarships to be announced next spring.

Three local schools--Montgomery Blair, Richard Montgomery and Walt Whitman--top all other schools in the state in the number of semifinalists.

The number of Merit semifinalists at each high school are:

Montgomery Blair: 30;

Richard Montgomery: 23;

Walt Whitman HS: 12;

Bethesda-Chevy Chase: eight;

Winston Churchill: seven;

Thomas S. Wootton: seven;

Walter Johnson: six;

Quince Orchard: two;

Rockville: two;

Sherwood: two;

Springbrook: two;

Watkins Mill: two;

Col. Zadok Magruder: one;

Northwest: one;

Paint Branch: one; and

Seneca Valley: one.

The semifinalists were selected from nearly 1.2 million students in more than 20,000 U.S. high schools who entered the 2000 Merit Program as juniors by taking the 1998 Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest-scoring students in each state were designated semifinalists in numbers proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists will advance to finalist status based on criteria such as academic record, recommendations by school principals, Scholastic Assessment Test performance, and participation and leadership in school and community activities. All scholarship winners will be selected from the finalist group.

Every finalist will be considered for one of the 2,400 scholarships, worth $2,000 each, to be awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the annual program. Corporations and business organizations will provide about 1,200 scholarships for finalists who meet the award grantor's criteria. About 200 colleges and universities are expected to sponsor at least 4,000 Merit Scholarships for finalists who will attend the sponsoring institutions.

Last year, MCPS had 131 semifinalists and 43 scholarship winners.

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