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Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced last Thursday the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, and one of them is a Palmya student.
Evan Nierman, a senior at Palmyra High School got the thrill of his young academic life when he learned of the prestigious honor.
“I was astounded,” Nierman said of his reaction to the announcement.
“This is an extremely competitive national scholarship and reaching this stage is an unbelievable accomplishment,” Jared Pontius, PHS principal.
Nierman said he was originally not knowledgable about the scholarship program and its significance, but has since read up on it to realize just what an honor it is and how it could influence his future education.
“I am really proud of my accomplishment and this was a way to show it,” Nierman said.
As a senior, Nierman has been busy filling out college applications, and his National Merit Scholarship semifinalist status will be a powerful aide in getting accepted.
Nierman said he plans to study zoology and has been looking at programs offered by the University of Wisconsin and Miami University in Ohio.
Nierman credits, not only his own hard work and effort, but also all the teachers he’s had in Palmyra schools.
“I’ve had an amazing education,” said Nierman, who also credited his parents, Scott Nierman, a production manager at the BASF Hannibal Plant, and Dawn Nierman, a Palmyra kindergarten teacher.
“My parents have been very supportive every step of the way, and they were astounded to hear of my accomplishment,” Nierman said.
Nierman is a member of the Palmyra FFA and is busy preparing for horticulture team competition.
He is also a member of the school’s Quiz Bowl and Science Olympiad teams, while a member of the National Honor Society.
Nierman is the first PHS student since Audrey Fohey, a 2019 graduate, to be a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.
Nierman now has an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $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 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately 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.
Steps in the
High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 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 a high school official 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.
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.
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2022. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.
About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.
In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2022 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.
These scholarship recipients will join more than 362,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.