137 Students Named Merit Semifinalists

September 20, 2001
One hundred thirty-seven students have been named semifinalists in the 2001 National Merit Scholarship competition, an increase of 15 semifinalists over the previous year.

The local students represent 44 percent of the 313 semifinalists in Maryland. They will compete with about 16,000 students nationally for about 8,000 Merit Scholarships to be announced next spring.

Five high schools-Montgomery Blair, Richard Montgomery, Walt Whitman, Winston Churchill and Walter Johnson-topped all other schools in the state in number of semifinalists.

The high schools and the number of semifinalists from each are:

-Montgomery Blair High School: 41
-Richard Montgomery and Walt Whitman high schools: 26 each
-Winston Churchill and Walter Johnson high schools: 9 each
-Thomas S. Wootton High School: 7
-Col. Zadok Magruder and Rockville high schools: 3 each
-Bethesda-Chevy Chase, John F. Kennedy, Paint Branch, Quince Orchard and Watkins Mill high schools: 2 each
-James Hubert Blake, Damascus and Springbrook high schools: 1 each.

The semifinalists were selected from nearly 1.2 million students in more than 20,000 U.S. high schools who were top scorers as juniors on the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The number of semifinalists in each state is 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 (SAT) performance, and participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Every finalist will be considered for one of the 2,500 $2,500 scholarships to be awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the annual program. In addition, some 400 corporations and business organizations will provide about 1,200 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for students who meet the award grantor's criteria. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to sponsor more than 4,300 Merit Scholarships for finalists who will attend the sponsoring institutions.

Last year, MCPS had 47 scholarship winners, including eight additional awardees selected by colleges and universities after the 2001 school year ended last June.

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