EVANSTON, Ill. — Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) on Sept. 12 announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 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.

About 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. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 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.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 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, a semifinalist and his/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, de onstrated leadership abilities, 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.

For more information, visit http://nationalmerit.org.

California semifinalists, listed by city, include:

Alhambra, Mark Keppel H.S. — Angelo H. Shimada

Arcadia, Arcadia H.S. — Anna Miyajima

Atherton, Menlo Atherton H.S. — Casey L. Kiyohara

Carlsbad, La Costa Canyon H.S. — David Y. Satoda

Cerritos, Gretchen Whitney H.S. — Michael Y. Ishida

Culver City, Culver City H.S. — Emma L. Kurihara

El Cerrito, El Cerrito H.S. — Mariko Whitenack

Irvine, University H.S. — Tomoya Ogura

La Canada, La Canada H.S. — Bradley S. Uyemura

Los Gatos, Los Gatos H.S. — Yukiye A. Koide

Palos Verdes Peninsula, Chadwick School — Amanda J. Asato

Rolling Hills Estates, Palos Verdes Peninsula H.S. — Derek S. Hirata

San Francisco, Lowell H.S. — Hugo C. Kitano

San Jose, Lynbrook H.S. — Jack R. Takahashi, Jonathan K. Uesato

San Mateo, Aragon H.S. — Marie A. Mihara

Templeton, Templeton H.S. — Chiyoko C. Newsum

Torrance, South H.S. — Keith A. Yuge

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