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2 area students named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition

EVANSTON, Ill. — Two area high school students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition.

Jack Blake of Catholic Central High School and Logan White of Brooke High School area among the 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th-annual program. They will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be presented in the spring.

About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, according to the nonprofit National Merit Scholarship Corp. The organization was founded in 1955.

Scholarships are underwritten by organization with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations.

High school juniors entered the competition by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The semifinalists, representing fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, include 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 advance, each semifinalist and a high school official must submit an application, in which they provide information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received. The process includes an essay and scores from the SAT or ACT. Finalists will be announced in February.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships. About 1,000 awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet specified criteria. About 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance about 4,000 college-sponsored awards for finalists who will attend there.

Scholarship winners will be announced on a rolling basis between April and July. To date, 320,000 students have earned the distinction.

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