Last week, officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.


From Roland-Story High School, Taryn Perry and Maddie Urbanek have been selected as semifinalists. Thirteen students from Ames High School were the only other semifinalists selected from Story County schools.


These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.


To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfil several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.


About 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.


NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.


The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.