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7 additional School District Five students earn National Merit Scholarships

7 additional School District Five students earn National Merit Scholarships

For Immediate Release – June 5, 2024

7 additional School District Five students earn National Merit Scholarships

IRMO – An additional seven students from Lexington-Richland School District Five have earned a National Merit Scholarship.

Brayden Berner (Chapin High, University of Kentucky), Damien Dedmond (Chapin High, University of South Carolina), Steven Eason (Chapin High, Florida State University), Amber Hawkinson (Chapin High, University of South Carolina), Darwin Newman-Norlund (Dutch Fork High, University of South Carolina), Ryan Riddle (Spring Hill High, University of Alabama), and John Shelley (Dutch Fork High, Clemson University) were part of the third round of National Merit Scholarship award announcements and winners of the college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

In May, Andrew Farmer (Chapin High) and Kathryn Stover (Chapin High) were named winners of this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. The awards to these students were part of the first and second round of National Merit Scholarship award announcements.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, Semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each Semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, over 15,000 met requirements for Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2024. 

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2022 when high school juniors took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis. More than 16,000 Semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition. 

From the Semifinalist group, over 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. School District Five had a total of 15 Semifinalists this school year. Additional National Merit Scholarship awards will be announced nationwide July 15.