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Monday, September 21, 2020

Highlands Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists


Highlands High School seniors Julianna Russ and Matthew Young have been named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. A third senior was also named but has asked to remain anonymous. 

Additionally, seniors Kayla Bolling and Cassandra Erickson were named as Commended students.

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Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. 

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent 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.

In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a commended student or semifinalist. More than two-thirds receive letters of commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise, and approximately one-third are notified that they have qualified as semifinalists. 

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. By achieving National Merit Finalist standing, students qualify for significant college scholarships.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships established in 1955. For more information about the competition, please visit NMSC’s website at

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