National merit finalists

McCarley Maddock, left, and Jack Mo­bley, two students from the Diocese of Charleston, were named 2016 National Merit Finalists re­cently, placing them in the top one percent of high school stu­dents in the United States.

McCarley is from Cardinal Newman in Columbia and Jack is from St. Joseph’s Catholic in Green­ville. They earned the top distinction from a crowded field of about 1.5 million students from more than 22,000 high schools.

Students enter the contest by taking the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. The pool of finalists, about 15,000 students, includes the highest-scor­ing entrants in each state.

Eventual winners of Merit Scholar­ship® awards are chosen from the finalist group based on their abili­ties, skills, and accomplishments.