EVANSTON, Ill. — Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation on Sept. 9 announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These academically talented 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 about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 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 1 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.

For more information, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

California semifinalists include (alphabetical by city):

Alhambra — Grant G. Shimada, Mark Keppel High School

Irvine — Rachel K. Sawada, Arnold O. Beckman High School; Samantha M. Haraguchi, Northwood High School

La Canada — Clarence M. Nakano, Flintridge Preparatory School

Los Altos — Samuel H. Morimoto, Los Altos High School

Los Gatos — Koji Kusumi, Los Gatos High School

Manhattan Beach — Tanner Z. Yamada, Mira Costa High School

Newport Beach — Robert R. Naruse, Corona Del Mar High School

Pacific Palisades — Yuko Nakano, Palisades Charter High School

Palo Alto — Anna H. Nakai, Palo Alto High School

Redding — Yuta Kato, homeschool

Rolling Hills Estates — Ryan H. Mori, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

San Diego — Hannah Y. Oikawa, Westview High School

San Mateo — Jeffrey T. Kishiyama, Aragon High School

Simi Valley — Robert I. Ota, Royal High School

Studio City — Cole Y. Kawana, Harvard-Westlake School

Westlake Village — Donovan W. Tokuyama, Westlake High School

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