EVANSTON, Ill. — Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) on Wednesday announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $35 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 scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

California semifinalists include, alphabetically by city:

Albany — Naomi M. Hamada, Albany High School

Atherton — Hidehiro Anto, Menlo School

Belmont — Alex T. Kumamoto, Carlmont High School

Diamond Bar — Sean E. Kitayama, Diamond Bar High School

Fremont — Jocelyn Tanaka, Mission San Jose High School

Irvine — Momo Enokida, San Joaquin High School; Yuta Okamoto, University High School

Manhattan Beach — Austin T. Yamada, Mira Costa High School

Newport Beach — Cayla K. Yasukochi, Corona Del Mar High School

North Hollywood — David C. Kawashima, North Hollywood High School

Pleasanton — Brian K. Shimanuki, Amador Valley High School

Redlands — Michael C. Oshiro, Redlands East Valley High School

Reseda — Yutaro C. Nakamura, Reseda High School

Rolling Hills Estates — Stacey S. Dojiri, Yuri S. Motoyama, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Sacramento — Kenji K. Anzai, Rio Americano High School

San Jose — Erika B. Kawaguchi, Archbishop Mitty High School

San Mateo — Yuki Chin, Aragon High School

Torrance — Theodore W. Akiyama, South High School

Turlock — Michi C. Kirihara, John H. Pitman High School

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 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.

For more information, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

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