WINFIELD, W.Va. — Four high school seniors from Putnam County Schools recently were named semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Jacob Braun, Hurricane High; Katelyn Keen, Hurricane High; Manan Parikh, Hurricane High; and Grace Hutchinson, Winfield High, will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered in the spring.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% 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.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received. 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.

To learn more about NMSC, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

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