Two Marion County seniors named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

EVANSTON, Ill. — Two high school students from Fairmont are among approximately 16,000 who, on Tuesday, were named 2021 semifinalists in the 66th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

East Fairmont High students Kate E. Merritt and Fairmont High students Taya Sullivan, both seniors, have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.

Over 90 percent of the 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.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 businesses and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

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, which served as an initial screener for 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.

Area seniors also named semifinalists are Riley R. Moore of Grafton High. Two homeschool students from Monongalia County — Ibrahim A. Musaddequr Rahman and Amabel M. Zucker — were also named semifinalists. Ten seniors from Morgantown High were named semifinalists: Michael S. Hoefler, Daniel P. Larimer, Nicole R. Liang, Peter Luo, Daniel L. McDonald, Jihan Park, Geoffrey D. Swisher, Sachin R. Thaker, Amanda Wang and Silas Wang. University High had four students earn semifinalist status — Kathryn R. Lerfald, Samuel R. Moody, Patrick I. Ryan and Leo Weimer.

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