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Township Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Students in two township schools have been named semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Awards program.

John Guirguis of Franklin High School and Zhaoyi Xiang of Rutgers Preparatory School are among 16,000 students nationwide who were named semifinalists.

The two will now be able to compete for the 7,600 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million, that will be awarded next Spring, according to a press release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received, according to the release.

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 or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test, according to the release.

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, the release said. 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, according to the release.

Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis, according to the release. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.

In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected
to finance 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution, according to the release.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July, the release said.

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