Nine high school seniors at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, including a Garland County student, were among 127 semifinalists statewide in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.
The students included Rene Ramirez, of Pearcy; Nasya Choy, of Conway; Melanie Holmes, of Atkins; Carter Horton, of North Little Rock; Kuhno Lee, of Little Rock; Christian Lu, of Jonesboro; Andrew Nguyen, of Sherwood; Chiking Vang, of Lincoln; and Anna Grace Wright, of Pottsville.
"We take immense pride in celebrating the exceptional intelligence of our young men and women who have earned recognition as National Merit Semifinalists," ASMSA Associate Dean for College Counseling Bret Vallun said. "Not only are they bright, but they all demonstrate admirable character. This honor is a testament to their preparation, dedication and potential."
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation on Tuesday announced over 16,000 semifinalists in the 69th annual NMSP, which honors those students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
According to a news release, students may compete for over 7,100 National Merit Scholarships, worth nearly $28 million, that are offered in the spring. About 95% of the semifinalists are expected to be finalists. Nearly half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship and earn a Merit Scholar title.
ASMSA Dean of Academic Affairs Stuart Flynn congratulated the students, calling it an extraordinary honor.
"Every day these students demonstrate their intelligence and integrity by their interactions with peers, faculty, and staff in classrooms and across the ASMSA campus. It is an honor to work with these students, and we could not be prouder of them," he said.
Students entered the competition by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Nationwide, semifinalists represent less than 1% of high school 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," the release said.
"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."
The finalist pool is expected to be announced in February, from which the 2024 National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected and announced beginning in April. Each finalist will compete for $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.