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Eight HCS students named National Merit Semifinalists

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of eight Horry County Schools students as Semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These HCS students are among 16,000 Semifinalists who have an opportunity to compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million.

HCS National Merit Semifinalists are:

Gavin P. Fling, Scholars Academy and Conway High School; Evan M. Ewing, St. James High School; Elizabeth M. Goodroe, Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology and Myrtle Beach High School; Benson J. Case, Alexandra Doyle, Clyve Lawrence, and Anthony D. Mastroberti, Scholars Academy and Carolina Forest High School; and Allen A. Meese, Scholars Academy and Socastee High School.

Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title. Over 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 (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.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school 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, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test. 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. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

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 $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by as many as 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. 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. 

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join some 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.