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CHS Seniors Named as Semifinalists in the 2006 National Merit Scholarship Program

Yinda Bi and Lauren CouchYingda Bi and Lauren Couch have the distinguished honor of being named National Merit Semifinalists, a distinction held by less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors annually.

These students were among the highest scoring entrants in Texas. Approximately 16,000 Semifinalists were named in the 51st annual National Merit Scholarship Program as announced last week by officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). More than 1.3 million juniors in nearly 21,000 U.S. high schools entered the 2006 National Merit Program by taking the 2004 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
These scholastically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 Merit Scholarship® awards, worth $33 million, that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements and advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

To become a Finalist, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout the high school years, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance. The Semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the Semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Approximately 15,000 Semifinalists will advance to the Finalist level and it is from this group that all Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. Three types of Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in 2006. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. In addition, some 300 corporations and business organizations will underwrite about 1,100 corporate-sponsored scholarships 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. Also, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,600 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Merit Scholarship winners of 2006 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join some 234,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was founded in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Program. Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by NMSC’s own funds and approximately 500 business organizations and higher education institutions which share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Commended Students

The following Centennial High School students have been named “Commended Students” in the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Krishna Bhadriraju
Jenny S. Choi
Andrew Duffy
Alex Garbarini
Kaely M. Kantaris
Jennifer E. Lein
Michelle L. Nelson
R.S. Rosenquist
Rachel E. Simpson

Commended students earned some of the highest scores on the 2004 PSAT exam. Of the more than one million students who took the exam, 34,000 students received this recognition.

National Achievement Scholars

In addition, Centennial High School announces that two students, Christina Lescay-Megret and Melanie Yabs, have been named National Achievement Scholars. These two students scored in the top five percent of the more than 130,000 Black Americans who took the 2004 PSAT test.

Congratulations to all of these students.