17 Area Seniors Named as National Merit Semifinalists

EVANSTON IL – Seventeen area high school seniors – representing Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford Area, Perkiomen Valley, and Boyertown Area high schools, and The Hill School – were named Wednesday (Sept. 15, 2021) as among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide selected to compete for nearly $30 million in National Merit Scholarships to be awarded next spring.

About 95 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and of those about half earn the title “Merit Scholar” and win a college scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The corporation is a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance to “honor the nation’s scholastic champions.”

Named locally as semifinalists were:

  • From Owen J. Roberts, Logan E. Cheney, Grayson J. Kurth, Praneeth V. Kutcherlapati, and Morgan M. Weaver;
  • From The Hill School, Jerry Li;
  • From Spring-Ford, Jacob H. Collier, Arnav Gupta, Braden T. Krajcirovic, Rahul R. Pallela, and Lizbeth M. Varughese;
  • From Perkiomen Valley, Melissa E. Bernardin, Samantha P. Corey, Jacob G. Deluca, and Nirmal Karthik; and
  • From Boyertown, Cameron L. Kratz, Cole A. Kratz, and Michael Perry.

High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking a qualifying test, which served to initial screen program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

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

Semifinalists 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 college exam scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Finalists will be notified of their status in February 2022.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit scholarships of $2,500 that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

Additionally, an estimated 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by about 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria. Also, 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance about 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists to attend their institutions.

Photo by Vadim Vasenin via Deposit Photos, used under license