9 area high school students named National Merit semifinalists

Sep. 14—Nine students from area high schools have been named semifinalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Area semifinalists are Daniel R. Fajardo and Aidan C. Koch, of Joplin High School; Chengle Qian and Emalee S. Ro, of Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School in Joplin; Ethan J. Ukena, of College Heights Christian School in Joplin; Liam B. Hall, of Carl Junction High School; John Streeter, a home-schooled student from Carl Junction; Reed I. Williams, of Northeast Technology Center in Afton, Oklahoma; and Brooklyn F. Lierle, of Vinita High School in Vinita, Oklahoma.

The students are among more than 16,000 semifinalists in the scholarship competition who were announced today by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

They will compete for approximately 7,140 National Merit scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a National Merit scholarship, semifinalists must advance to the finalist level of competition by detailing their academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, and awards and honors received. About 95% of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, which will be announced in February, and approximately half of finalists will win a National Merit scholarship.

The 2024 scholarship program began when more than 1.3 million high school juniors took a qualifying test that served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Students will compete for three types of National Merit scholarships: $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis, corporate-sponsored awards and scholarships sponsored by colleges and universities.