2 area students win National Merit scholarships

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Jun. 2—Two area 2021 high school graduates have won a National Merit scholarship financed by U.S. colleges and universities.

Cade Wilkerson, of Carl Junction High School, received a scholarship financed by Missouri University of Science & Technology. His probable career field is computer science.

Cory Brynds, of Girard (Kansas) High School, received a scholarship financed by the University of Central Florida. The probable career field is listed as computer engineering.

The pair are among more than 3,100 winners of university-sponsored National Merit scholarships announced Wednesday. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

An additional group of National Merit winners will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored scholarship recipients this year to about 4,000. Winners of corporate-sponsored awards and $2,500 National Merit awards were announced earlier this spring.

The 2021 National Merit competition began in 2019, when more than 1.5 million juniors took a qualifying exam that served as an initial screen of program entrants. Approximately 17,000 semifinalists, representing less than 1% of the nation's high school seniors, were named last fall.

To compete for National Merit awards, semifinalists were required to submit a scholarship application, have an outstanding academic record and be endorsed by a high school official. Roughly 16,000 of them met the requirements to become a finalist, and about half of the finalists will be National Merit winners in 2021.

By the end of this year's competition, about 7,500 students will have won National Merit scholarships worth approximately $30 million.