Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

20 GCS Seniors Named Semifinalists in 2015 National Merit® Scholarship Program

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced today that 20 Greenville County Schools’ seniors are among 16,000 Semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.

  • Blue Ridge High: Joshua W. Harvey
  • Eastside High: Daniel C. Fox
  • J. L. Mann High Academy: Billy J. Gist
  • Mauldin High: Sebastian Bedoya, Charissa M. Pichal, William F. Randall
  • • Riverside High: John D. Freeman, Stephanie D. Hong, Elliot X. Lin, Philip Gheorghiu
  • Southside High: Nathaniel F. Brown, Christopher A. Hood, Eric T. Johnson, Venkatraman Kothandaraman, Carolyn Liu, Amil A. Merchant, Prateek C. Shah
  • Wade Hampton High: Hunter K. Strasser, Micah R. Tan, Keegan N. Trofatter

About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Steps in the 2015 Competition

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and their high school 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. 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 scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered next spring. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.


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