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21 from Forsyth County named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

FORSYTH COUNTY — Twenty-one students from Forsyth County schools have been named among the group of semifinalists for the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program, a pool that represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

This nationwide pool of semifinalists 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.

“Our continued high scores on national entrance exams and state assessments demonstrates not only the caliber of students we have in our school system, but also the dedication and expertise of our teachers in caring for and preparing our students to be both college and career ready,” said Fonda Harrison, associate superintendent for teaching and learning for Forsyth County Schools.

“The success of our students is a result of high quality instruction from elementary through high school and the support of our parents and community.”

To become a semifinalist, students and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards.

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 scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.”

Following are the local semifinalists, according to information released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation:

* Forsyth Central — James L. Ballard and Alexander G. Grove

* Lambert — Eugene T. Ahn, Ji Baek, Su Baek, Lily B. Ge, Sue B. Kim, Cory W. Larsen, Nina P. Reddy, Julia S. Scher, Deborah W. Song

* South — Bailey A. Becker, Anirudh Bikmal, Savannah D. Carnahan, Jason T. Lieb, Shivani Palanivel, Seri Ryu, Jessica Y. Tang

* West — S. Thomas

* Pinecrest Academy — Drew A. Bryant, Garrett M. Witt

From the about 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level. They will be notified in February of this designation.

Three types of scholarships will be offered this spring. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

Winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases between April and July.