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Local semifinalists named in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program

EVANSTON, ILL. Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 54th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $35 million, that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.
About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
NMSC, a non-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 500 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.
More than 1.5 million juniors in over 21,000 high schools entered the 2009 National Merit Program by taking the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2009 will be announced beginning in April. These scholarship recipients will join more than 259,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
Local semifinalists include Anne Archibald of Holyoke Catholic High School; Neal Freyman, William Gagne-Maynard, Erin Mernoff, Hannah Steele and Vincent Yu of Longmeadow High School; George Massey of South Hadley High School; and James Grzelak of MacDuffie School in Springfield.