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Three PPS Students National Merit Semifinalists

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Three PPS Students National Merit Semifinalists
Posted on 09/12/2018
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Three high school seniors in the Portland Public Schools have been named Semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented students now have the opportunity to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million offered next spring.

The three Semifinalists are Elinor Tierney-Fife, a student at Casco Bay High School, and Isabel Clayter and Lauren Paradise, both of whom are students at Portland High School.

These students are among 75 Maine seniors named as Semifinalists in the 2019 contest. There are approximately 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide. Semifinalists were selected from a pool of more than 1.6 million high school juniors that entered the 2019 competition by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screening test. The Semifinalists represent less than one 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 advance, Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s 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 2019. 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 338,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.