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Two South Forsyth High grads named National Merit Scholars
South Forsyth High

Two South Forsyth High School graduates are getting ready to begin college with a prestigious scholarship in tow.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation revealed 900 National Merit Scholarships awarded by colleges and universities in its final round of announcements throughout the spring and summer.

Matthew McCusker received a scholarship from Northeastern University, where he will likely study computer science, and Nicolas Devereaux was named a National Merit Scholar to study mechanical engineering at Auburn University.

“We are thrilled for these two hard-working students and wish them much success,” said Laura Wilson, principal at the school on Peachtree Parkway. “Matthew has limitless intellectual potential and creativity. The combination of intellect, inquisitiveness and social graces will assure success for Nicolas in the future.”

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program who will attend their institution.

College-sponsored awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annual for up to four years of undergraduate study.

This year, 182 colleges and universities are sponsoring more than 4,000 Merit Scholarship awards, including 103 private and 79 public institutions in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

After this final announcement, more than 7,500 high school graduates have been named Merit Scholars in 2017. They will receive a total of more than $32 million.

Two other types of scholarships were also awarded: 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, for which all finalists competed, and about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships for finalists who met criteria specified by the granting organization.

The competition to become a National Merit Scholar began when more than 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools took the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screening.

In September 2016, about 16,000 semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis proportional to each state’s number of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than 1 percent of the nation’s seniors.

They then had to complete a scholarship application, including writing an essay, describing leadership positions and contributions in school and community activities, showing an outstanding academic record and being endorsed and recommended by a high school official.

They also had to take the SAT and earn scores that confirmed their initial performance.

About 15,000 finalists were named.