10 SPS Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

  • Central Senior Finalists

    9 seniors from Central High School were named National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

  • Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced ten Springfield Public Schools students are among the approximately 15,000 finalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. 

    SPS finalists are:

    Central High School
    Akila Anandarajah

    Isabel Lai
    Jack Mostyn
    Evan Parker
    Savannah Slater
    Jeffrey Su
    Megana Swords
    Samuel Weiler
    Benjamin Zimmerman

    Glendale High School
    Gillian Hoogstraet


    These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $32 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. 

    About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2014 Preliminary National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

    To become a Finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. 

    All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of 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 2018. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. 

    National Merit Scholarship winners of 2018 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 330,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

Gillian Hoogstraet