5 additional School District Five students named National Merit Scholarship winners

An additional five students from Lexington-Richland School District Five have earned a National Merit Scholarship.

Elizabeth Bouknight (Dutch Fork High, Clemson University), Joseph Hodges (Irmo High, University of South Carolina), Brett Markland (Dutch Fork High, University of South Carolina), Ansley Othersen (Chapin High, University of Alabama) and Eleanor Prosser (Dutch Fork High, Clemson University) were part of the third round of National Merit Scholarship award announcements and winners of the college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

In May, Ebonee Davis (Dutch Fork High) was named a winner of this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. In April, Colin Johnson (Spring Hill High) was named a winner of a corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship by State Farm. The awards to these students were part of the first and second round of National Merit Scholarship award announcements.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, Semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each Semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, over 15,000 met requirements for Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2023.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2021 when high school juniors took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis. More than 16,000 Semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.

From the Semifinalist group, over 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. School District Five had a total of 11 Semifinalists this school year. Additional National Merit Scholarship awards will be announced nationwide July 10.