Seven Xavier seniors named National Merit semi-finalists

From left is Hope Helser, Andrea Kraetz, Katherine Milano, Kirielle Singarajah, Talia Khan, Isabella McClelland and Hannah Paynter. (Photos by Duke Photography)

From left is Hope Helser, Kirielle Singarajah, Hannah Paynter, Katherine Milano, Isabella McClelland, Andrea Kraetz and Talia Khan. (Photos by Duke Photography)

Seven seniors at Xavier College Preparatory – Hope Helser, Talia Khan, Andrea Kraetz, Isabella McClelland, Katherine Milano, Hannah Paynter, and Kirielle Singarajah – have been named semi-finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Competition.

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semi-finalists in its 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Nationwide, approximately 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, according to a press release.

Next spring, these semi-finalists – who represent the top one-half of one percent of students who take the PSAT and who comprise less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors – will have the opportunity to compete for 7,400 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $32 million, the release stated.

In order to advance to the finalist level of the competition, a semi-finalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by their high school principal, earn SAT scores that confirm earlier performance on the qualifying test, and submit a detailed scholarship application that includes a student essay and information regarding her participation and leadership in community and school activities.

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