EVANSTON, Ill. — Two local students have been named semifinalists in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) on Wednesday announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists, which includes Evan C. Miller, a student at Christian Academy Schools in Sidney, and Serena N. Hostetter, a student at New Knoxville Local Schools. Both are seniors at their high schools.
Hostetter is the daughter of Kerry and Cheryl Hostetter. She has been a four-year member of the volleyball team and a four-year cheerleader. She is currently the National Honor Society president, a member of student council, pep club, German club, was the junior class president and the freshmen class secretary.
She volunteers in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. She is a Girl Scout who volunteers her time to help with the elementary-age troops.
Hostetter is the second New Knoxville student to be named a semifinalist. Lydia Felty was National Merit Scholarship finalist. She was a 2013 graduate of New Knoxville High School.
Miller is the son of Todd and Lisa Miller, Sidney. He is in the process of visiting colleges and planning to major in Mechanical Engineering. He is in the National Honor Society, is a small group leader and participates on the Academia team at Christian Academy Schools.
Miller is a member of the Sidney First United Methodist Church. He often performs special piano selections during services. Christian Academy Schools said Miller is the second semifinalist of the National Merit Scholarship program from their school since 2008. The first was Edward Amsden, who was the valedictorian of the Class of 2008.
The academically talented high school seniors will now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next 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 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes 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 become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record through- out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2016.
Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 250 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,900 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2016 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 315,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.
Information for the article was provided by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).