BE students named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

DANIEL ISLAND — Nine Bishop England students were named as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. They are: Jeffrey C. Bandy, Jennifer L. Brady, Matthew K. Conte, Thomas F. Durst, Schuyler R. Knowles, Erin E. Lawson, Ashley M. Sands, Jeffrey S. Shirley, and Nicholas E. Stech.

The semifinalists from Bishop England High School are among thousands of students throughout the country who were announced as semifinalists in the 45th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These students now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 merit scholarship awards worth over $28 million, which will be offered next spring. About 90 percent (or 14,500) of the semifinalists are expected to meet the standards required to become finalists.

Nearly 1.2 million students in over 20,000 high schools entered the 2000 Merit Program as juniors by taking the 1998 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT-NMSQT). Fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s high school seniors were designated semifinalists on a state representational basis. The number of semifinalists named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

Once the students pass the PSAT-NMSQT, they must fulfill other requirements to advance to finalist standing. To do this, they must have an outstanding high school academic record, be endorsed and recommended by their principal, and submit SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance. They must also complete a scholarship application, which includes a self-descriptive essay. Participation in extracurricular activities is another consideration.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) will release the names of the merit scholarship winners in 2000 in three separate announcements in April and May; names of additional college-sponsored merit scholarship recipients will be announced in July. These scholarship winners will join in the ranks of more than 185,000 distinguished young people who have earned the title “merit scholar” since the first competition in 1956.

NMSC, which conducts the academic competition, is a privately financed, not-for-profit corporation. Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by about 600 independent sponsor organizations. These sponsors join NMSC in its efforts to bring public recognition to academically talented students.