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Three PPS Students National Merit Semifinalists

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Three PPS Students National Merit Semifinalists
Posted on 09/11/2019
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Three high school seniors in the Portland Public Schools have been named Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented students now have the opportunity to compete for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

The three Semifinalists are Julia Ayer, a student at Portland High School; David Botana, a student at Casco Bay High School; and Glynis O’Meara, a Deering High School student.

These students are among 73 Maine seniors named as Semifinalists in the 2020 contest. There are approximately 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide. Semifinalists were selected from a pool of more than 1.5 million high school juniors that entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screening test. The Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, and include the highest scoring entrants in each state, according to the nonprofit National Merit organization.

Of the 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. To become Finalists, Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be involved in school and community activities, show leadership abilities, be endorsed by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their  earlier performance on the qualifying test. Of those Finalists, about half will win a National Merit Scholarship and become National Merit Scholars.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2020. The National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and ending in July. These scholarship recipients will join approximately 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.