SJA Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

September 10, 2020

St. Johnsbury Academy seniors (clockwise from upper left) Nelson Eaton, of Groton, Gavin Ghafoori, of St. Johnsbury, Emma Keenan, of Peacham, and Luke Young-Xu, of North Haverhill, N.H., have been recognized as semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. SJA is one of only 16 schools in the state to have students recognized as semifinalists. The school tied with Essex for the second-most semifinalists from a single school.


St. Johnsbury Academy Headmaster Dr. Sharon Howell said, “We are so proud of these students for earning this particular honor, and can’t wait to see what they do! It puts them in the running for a scholarship opportunity and marks them as extraordinary among their peers.”


Over 1.5 million juniors in nearly 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). From that number, 16,000 students, approximately one percent of the total, are named as semifinalists. About 15,000 of those students are expected to advance to the finalist level. Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.


Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2021. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2,500 Scholarships. 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 some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.


National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

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