Two recent graduates of Allen D. Nease High School and one Ponte Vedra High School graduate have been awarded National Merit Scholarships by the colleges they plan to attend.
Ponte Vedra High School graduate Parker Shannon received a scholarship from the University of Florida, where he plans to pursue studies toward a career in construction. Nease graduate Suzanne Raybuck received a scholarship from Florida State, where she plans to study information systems management, while Nease graduate John Hiltonen received a scholarship from the University of Oklahoma to pursue studies in physical therapy.
The students were among more than 3,200 winners to receive National Merit Scholarships from U.S. colleges and universities. The awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution providing the scholarship. An additional group of National Merit Scholars will be announced in July.
More than 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, approximately 16,000 semifinalists were named on a state-representational
basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.
To compete for National Merit Scholarship awards, semifinalists first had to advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance.
From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 met requirements for finalist standing, with about half of the finalists receiving 2017 National Merit Scholarships.