Ellensburg High School principal Beau Snow announced Rowan Utzinger has been named a semifinalist, and Tess Preppernau, Ryan Stinson and Madison Thompson have been named commended students in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program, according to a news release.

Certificates from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented to these scholastically talented seniors at the Senior Assembly in June 2020. 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.

There are approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. 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 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, earning the Merit Scholar title.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 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. National Merit Scholarship Finalist winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 330,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, commended students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2020 competition.

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