Jaquetta Coy, who attends Capital High School in Charleston, and James Pettus, who attends Fairmont Senior High School, are among 1,600 African-American high school seniors to be named semifinalists. They were chosen from more than 130,000 applicants and will compete for about 800 scholarships worth some $2.5 million. Winners will be announced in April 2007.
The National Achievement Program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Program. The program began in 1964 to honor academically promising African-American students across the country. Since then, more than 27,000 young men and women have received awards totaling about $86 million.
To become finalists, semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by their school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test scores. The student, along with a school official, must submit a detailed scholarship application that includes information about the studentís educational goals and participation and leadership in school and community activities.
Students enter the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The pool of semifinalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.