Editor's note: The following is a press release issued by Plainfield School District 202.
Plainfield North High School senior John H. Ryan is one of about 16,000 National Merit Scholarship 2012-13 semifinalists nationwide.
The 2012-2013 school year is the 58th year of the prestigious program, which honors academically talented high school seniors and lets them compete for 8,300 National Merit Scholarship awards, worth more than $32 million. The awards will be announced next spring.
About 15,000 of the 16,000 2012-13 semifinalists are expected to be named Finalists, and about half of the Finalists will be named National Merit Scholars.
To become a National Merit Finalist, students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying performance.
The semifinalist and a school official must also submit a detailed scholarship application, including the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the student’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.
More than 1.5 million high school juniors in over 22,000 high schools nationwide entered the 2012-13 National Merit Program by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The pool of semifinalists comprises less than one percent of all United States high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.
About 15,000 semifinalists will be named Finalists. National Merit Finalists will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships.
About 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will also be given by about 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet those organizations’ criteria.
And, about 240 colleges and universities are expected to finance about 4,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists attending their sponsoring institution.
2012-13 Merit Scholarship winners will be announced between April-July 2013. They will join more than 291,000 other distinguished students who have earned the National Merit Scholar title.
Through the 2011-12 school year, PHSCC has had 34 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, including 30 Finalists since 1976, according to National Merit records. Sixteen PHSCC students have been named National Merit Scholars since 1976.
Plainfield South High School had one Achievement Program Finalist, and one National Merit Scholarship semifinalist since 2005
Plainfield North High School has had five National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, including three finalists and two National Merit Scholarship winners since 2008.
Plainfield East High School had its first National Merit Scholarship semifinalist last year, who went on to become the school’s first National Merit Scholarship winner.