Four Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Four HCSD Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

(Harrison County, MS) Four high school seniors in the Harrison County School District have been named Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Three students are from Harrison Central High, and one student is from D’Iberville High School.  They are among 20 students who were selected in South Mississippi.

Alyssa StonerJeremy WrightChase YanoMichael Steil

HCSD would like to congratulate Alyssa Stoner, Jeremy Wright, and Chase Yano of HCHS, along with Michael Steil of DHS.  These seniors share another major academic achievement.  They all made a perfect 36 score on the ACT during their junior year.

“It’s great that we were able to accomplish this together!” said Alyssa.

“We think this will bring pride and positive attention to Harrison Central,” said Chase.

“The news wasn’t a big surprise to us, because we’ve been comparing the qualifying scores for the program,” said Jeremy.

Alyssa wants to attend Brown University and major in molecular biology.  Jeremy is aiming for MIT, with a major in computer science.  Chase is not sure yet where he wants to go to college, but knows he is interested in computer science.  Michael would like to attend Princeton University to receive a degree in astrophysics. His dream is to work for NASA.

HCSD is very proud of all four students for achieving this prestigious designation!  We wish them the best of luck as they advance to the Finalist level. 

Here is the official announcement from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation:

Today, officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 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 of the competition.

Over 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. NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide 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 a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s 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 high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 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 this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.