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National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist and Commended Students Honored

Posted October 19, 2023

The Washington County Board of Education honored several WCPS students on October 17 who have been recognized as Semifinalists and Commended Students as part of the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

North Hagerstown High School student Reed Althouse was honored as one of more than 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalist who will continue to compete for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth a total of nearly $28 million.  About 1.3 million high school juniors in more than 21,000 high schools entered the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).  The semifinalists, who represent less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, are the highest-scoring entrants on the PSAT/NMSQT in each state.

North Hagerstown High School students Graham Snyder and Danial O’Donoghue, South Hagerstown High School student Maggie McAndrew, and Williamsport High School student Carmen Leist were all honored for being Commended Students.  Commended Students are recognized for demonstrating exceptional academic promise by their outstanding performance on the 2022 PSAT/NMSQT.  Of the approximately 50,000 highest scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT, 34,000 are named Commended Students.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists and their high schools must submit a detailed scholarship application which includes information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment as well as honors and awards received.  A semifinalist also must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. 

Finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program will be announced early next year with the recipients of the National Merit Scholarship awards being announced beginning next spring.  There are three types of National Merit Scholarships that will be offered as part of the 2024 competition.  Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $2,500 each that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.  About 840 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards are being provided by approximately 160 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria.  In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to fund about 3,800 college-sponsored scholarship awards.