Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Local students honored by National Merit Scholarship program

Published September 21, 2018

ATLANTA—The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program on Sept. 12. These talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 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. Over 1.6 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The pool of semifinalists, representing less than one 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 school must submit a detailed application, in which they provide information about 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 throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

About 15,000 students 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 the finalists.

Semifinalists from Atlanta area Catholic schools are: Watson M. Casal, Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Atlanta; Harrison D. Ford, Marist School, Atlanta; Isabella C. Hay, Marist School; Natalie M. Selover, Marist School; Jason A. Anandappa, St. Pius X High School, Atlanta; Jared J. Druss, St. Pius X High School; Patrick E. Leonard, St. Pius X High School; Luke Mersberger, St. Pius X High School; Thomas R. Wiley, St. Pius X High School; Nicolas C. Kelhofer, Pinecrest Academy, Cumming; Flora T. Ngo, Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fayetteville; Gabriella L. Berrey, Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell; Michael T. Dimond, Blessed Trinity High School; Brian R. Hernan, Blessed Trinity High School; and James R. Mancini, Blessed Trinity High School.