NORMAN — Fifteen area students were among the 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists announced this week in the 59th annual program.
This year, 173 seniors from Oklahoma were named National Merit semifinalists with 15 of those semifinalists from the Norman area.
Carolyn A. Hewes, Russell B. Hobson, Kenneth F. McCann, Reed T. Shafer-Ray, Joseph R. Sullivan, Nathan L. Thompson, Stephen K. Thung and Gehrig E. Thurston are all semifinalists from Norman High School.
Madison Allen, William F. Long, Ohvia Muraleetharan, Lucas Schuermann, Zachary Schuermann and Spencer T. Yue are all semifinalists from Norman North High School.
Madolyn K. Phillips, a homeschool student from Norman, also was named a semifinalist.
The high school seniors have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $35 million that will be offered next spring.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
This nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.
To become a finalist, each semifinalist must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.
Additionally, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout 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.
National Merit Scholarship winners for 2014 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.