The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently announced the names of 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Niles Township High School District 219 has four Semifinalists. They are: Owen Stephenson from Niles North and Daniel Cudzich, Irena Petryk and Henry Rousseau from Niles West. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $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. 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.
The next step in the process is narrowing down the pool of semifinalists to finalists. About 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the next level after submitting an application with information about academic and community activities, employment, awards and “demonstrated leadership abilities,” according to National Merit. Winners will be selected out of those finalists based on their accomplishments, skills and potential for success in college. This year’s National Merit Scholars will be announced between April and July 2020.