Vermillion students named National Merit semifinalists

Vermillion students named National Merit semifinalists by David Lias Three students from Vermillion High School are among the top 1 percent of high school seniors who have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Timothy A. Margheim, Raymond J. Ring and Dariel M. Weaver have been named semifinalists in the 2000 Merit Scholarship competition.

There are approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 45th annual National Merit Scholarship Program who now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 scholarship awards worth more than $28 million.

Students from 33 high schools in the state qualified as semifinalists. What distinguishes Vermillion High School from most of these schools is the number of students among the top 1 percent of all high school seniors.

Besides Vermillion, only some of the larger high schools in the state, such as Lincoln, O�Gormon and Roosevelt high schools in Sioux Falls, and high schools in Pierre and Rapid City, had more students qualify than Vermillion.

To become semifinalists, students take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors. Fewer than 1 percent of the nation�s high school seniors were designated semifinalists on a state basis.

The number of semifinalists in each state is proportional to the state�s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To advance to finalist, semifinalists must submit SAT scores to confirm their earlier qualifying test, have an outstanding high school academic record and be endorsed and recommended by their school principal.

Also, the student and a school official must complete a detailed scholarship application including the student�s self-descriptive essay.

About 90 percent, or 14,500 of the semifinalists are expected to meet the standards to become finalists, and more than half of the finalists will be awarded Merit Scholarships in 2000.

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