Twelve students from Lexington-Richland School District Five have been announced as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program. These academically talented high school students from School District Five are represented in the nationwide pool of semifinalists which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
School District Five National Merit Scholarship semifinalists include: Elizabeth Bouknight (Dutch Fork High), Richard Coffy (Spring Hill High), Ebonee Davis (Dutch Fork High), Benjamin Hawkins (Dutch Fork High), Anna Hodges (Chapin High), Joseph Hodges (Irmo High), Colin Johnson (Spring Hill High), Brett Markland, (Dutch Fork High) Ansley Othersen (Chapin High), Eleanor Prosser (Dutch Fork High), Pooja Saji (Dutch Fork High), and Emily Sitnik (Dutch Fork High).
“Congratulations to each of our students who have been recognized as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists,” said School District Five Chief of Academics and Administration Anna Miller. “The accomplishments of these 12 students demonstrate our district’s commitment to academic excellence from our teachers and students even when faced with the many challenges of a pandemic. We celebrate with these students and their families and wish them well in the next steps of the program and their senior year.”
These seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $28 million that will be offered next spring. High school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
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. 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. From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 368,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.