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32 FCS students named National Merit semifinalists

Forsyth County Schools has 32 seniors on the list of semifinalists for the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are:

• Forsyth Central – Parker B. Davenport
• Lambert – Amitesh Chandra, Elynna Y. Chang, Mark L. Foster, Janani R. Guru, Saiharshith H. Kilaru, Hannah S. Kim, Sunghoon Kim, Jake Kwon, Nivedita Minjur, Hari V. Pingali, Natasha T. Ramaswamy, Naren P. Reddy, Tanya Roy, Mehnaz Ruksana, Christina Sun, Kevin L. Tao, Stephanie Tian
• North Forsyth – Bradley L. Dover
• South Forsyth – Nicholas C. Devereaux, Venkata Sai S. Duvvuri, Harish K. Kamath, Roshan Konda, Matthew D. McCusker, Atman M. Patel, Rachel M. Walter, Yaxuan Wang
• West Forsyth – Rahulkrishna Gurram-Thimmugari, Kelsey A. Kasischke, Thomas R. Pawloski, Mary-Grace Trogdon, Meekail Zain

Every public high school in Forsyth County was represented on the list of 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists, a pool that recognizes students with the highest scores on 2015 preliminary college entrance exams.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the scholarship program by taking the PSAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The about 16,000 semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and are the highest-scoring students in their state.

These seniors – 32 from Forsyth County – will continue to be screened for some 7,500 scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered this spring.

“Lambert High School is proud to have the most National Merit semifinalists ever in our history – 17,” Principal Gary Davison said. “These students are true examples of hard work, dedication and their commitment to academics. The secret to their success is hard work and dedication.”

Lambert hosted a breakfast for the 17 students, their families, counselors and the school’s administrative team Thursday.

Last year, all nine of Lambert’s semifinalists were named finalists.

To become a finalist, students must submit an application, in which they provide information about their academic record, school and community involvement, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards they have received.

“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,” said Eileen Artemakis, spokeswoman for the program, in a news release.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to be named finalists in February, and about half of those will win a National Merit Scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a nonprofit that was established in 1955 and is supported in funding by about 420 businesses and higher education institutions.

Three types of scholarships are awarded: 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that are awarded on a state-representational basis; about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships provided by about 230 corporations and businesses for students who meet their criteria, such as children of employees or residents in their service areas; and about 4,000 college-sponsored scholarships provided by about 190 colleges and universities for students who attend their institution.

Winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases between April and July, naming those who will join more than 323,000 other Merit Scholars.