West Virginia Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

September 20, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - Some of West Virginiaís brightest were named as National Merit Semifinalists last week by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Eighty-five public school students, 11 private/parochial school students and two home-schooled students were named semifinalists for the prestigious academic award. Nationally, approximately 16,000 students were named semifinalists, less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.  

George Washington High School, Kanawha County, led the state with fourteen students named semifinalists, followed by Morgantown High School, Monongalia County, with 13; Capital High School, Kanawha County, with five and Huntington High School, Cabell County, Parkersburg High School, Wood County, and Wheeling Park High School, Ohio County, each with four.  

Other Schools include: Woodrow Wilson High School, Raleigh Count; Berkeley Springs High School, Morgan County; Bluefield High School, Mercer County; Bridgeport High School, Harrison County; Buckhannon-Upshur, Upshur County; Elkins High School, Randolph County; Fairmont High School, Marion County; Tolsia High School, Wayne County; Spring Valley High School, Wayne County; Hurricane High School, Putnam County; Martinsburg High School, Berkeley County; Moorefield High School, Hardy County; University High School, Monongalia County; Magnolia High School, Wetzel County; Cabell-Midland High School, Cabell County; Hampshire High School, Hampshire County; Sherman High School, Boone County; Jefferson High School, Jefferson County; Roane County High School, Roane County; St. Albans High School, Kanawha County; Nicholas County High School, Nicholas County; Weir High School, Hancock County; Williamstown High School, Wood County; and Winfield High School, Putnam County.  

These scholastically talented high school students will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards worth $33 million. The awards will be offered this spring.  

To be considered a semifinalist, students must fulfill several requirement and advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Nearly 90 percent of the semifinalists will advance to the finalist round, with approximately half of the finalists selected as Merit Scholarship winners.  

To become a finalists, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout the high school years, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the studentís earlier qualifying test performance. The student, along with a school official, must submit a detailed scholarship application that includes the studentís self-descriptive essay and information about the his/her participation and leadership in school and community activities.  

Students enter the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which serves as a screen of program entrants. The pool of semifinalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the stateís percentage of national total of graduating seniors.  

For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Program, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

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