Three ASD Students Named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

ASD National Merit Semifinalists
Posted on 09/09/2020
National Merit Semifinalists

Three students from the Academy for Science and Design (ASD) named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

Nashua, NH - Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program on September 9, 2020. ASD is proud to announce that three members of the class of 2021 have been named as Semifinalists, Charles (Tony) Fezzie (Hollis), Alison Ryckman (Hollis) and Matthew Zoerb (Nashua).

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 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 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Over 1.5 million juniors in more than 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), 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 SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

“These three young adults are ready to take on higher education with a sense of curiosity, passion, creativity and tremendous work ethic,” ASD’s Assistant Director Jessica Golden said in a statement. “Our ASD family is incredibly proud of these students and we have the highest hopes for their futures as STEM innovators, leaders and compassionate members of a global society.” 

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.

Serving as both a public, open-enrollment middle/high school with a STEM-specialty focus, the success of the Academy for Science and Design is based on its commitment to engage a diversity of student learners at both of these levels through an exemplary structure for broadening student access to STEM-focused learning opportunities.  Accordingly, ASD’s program design is focused on providing early exposure to opportunities in STEM that younger students may be unaware of, and then encouraging and supporting those students as they pursue a highly personalized pathway to a specialized STEM field in high school. More information can be found on ASD’s website at www.asdnh.org, or email Amy.Bewley@asdnh.org. For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Program, please visit www.nationalmerit.org.  


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