National Merit Finalists Announced

Officials with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of 15,000 finalists in the 66th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program and several students from Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods were on the list.

Approximately 90% of the students named as semi-finalists advanced to the final round. Each will be presented at their school with a “Certificate of Merit,” from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Only 7,500 students – half of the finalists named – will make the final cut to receive a Merit Scholarship®. Those scholarships, worth more than $30 million, will be awarded in the spring.

In all 16 students who reside in or attend schools within Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods made the cut. Of a long list of students from Stanton who were on the list of finalists, John Blake Caven, Audrey Plauche, and Artin Rezaei reside in the San Marco area.

Five students from The Episcopal School of Jacksonville made the grade including Braden Witkovich, Donald Kohla of Ortega, Jameson Gatewood, Paul Fouts, and Sally Barksdale of Avondale.

Brianna Borberly and Caroline Guiler from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts were on the list. Hallie Knight of Bishop Kenny High School was also named.

And Yash Gupta, Lara Morello, Devi Priya Patcha, Edward Sun and Jessica Zeng from The Bolles School were included among the finalists.

More than 1.5 million high school juniors from 21,000 high schools around the country entered the 2021 scholarship program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, also known as the PSAT/NMSQT, a test that served as an initial screen for program entrants. The semifinalists represented less than 1% of high school seniors in the United States.

To become a finalist, semifinalists submitted a detailed scholarship application, in which they provided information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, honors and awards. All finalists have outstanding high school academic record, have been recommended by a high school official, and wrote an essay.

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