Three Wood County Schools students named National Merit finalists

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 11:25 AM EST
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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) - Three Wood County Schools students have been named as 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program finalists.

Cecelia Fatta of Parkersburg High School, Nicholas Murphy of Parkersburg South High School, and Jacob Huggins of Williamstown High School were among the finalists announced this week by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. This marks the 66th year of the scholarship program.

“We could not be more proud of our students and their accomplishments,” said Wood County Schools Superintendent William Hosaflook. “To become a National Merit finalist you have to show not only academic excellence, but the drive to perform at the highest levels.”

High school seniors from throughout the nation compete annually for approximately 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million. More than 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one 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, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2021. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

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