Students named semi-finalists for Merit scholarship

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Allison Miller, Andrew Brozek and Casey Schneider were recently named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, an honor given to only a small percentage of high school seniors nationwide. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

Three Whitefish High School students have been named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists, an honor only a small percentage of high school seniors nationwide receive.

Casey Schneider, Allison Miller and Andrew Brozek were named semi-finalists in September and were recently honored during a Whitefish School Board meeting.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the organization’s mission is “to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States.” About 16,000 students nationwide become semifinalists, and about 15,000 finalists are named in February.

All students that take the PSAT test as a junior qualify for the honor, according to Whitefish Middle School Assistant Principal Jackie Fuller, making the three students’ achievement even more impressive.

“Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program, and they did that by taking preliminary SAT. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represent less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, and we here alone at Whitefish have three of them,” she said. “It comes with a lot of work to do this, as they can probably tell you. It comes with participating in out-of-school activities, in-school activities, demonstrating leadership, employment and honors and awards. I’m really proud of these three people for being a part of our school and for all of the work that our teachers have done to prepare them all the way up to this point.”

The students said they will be notified in the winter of 2020 whether they’ve been accepted as finalists, which comes with more scholarship opportunities.

As they apply for colleges now, Schneider said it’s helpful to tack the achievement on the resume.

“It was surprising. It’s really cool that happened,” he said. “Being a semi-finalist just looks really good on an application.”

“Being a finalist looks better,” Brozek added.

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