From an Everett Public Schools News Release.
Devon Mercer (Everett High School) and Saidutt Nimmagadda (Henry M. Jackson High School) are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. They each have an opportunity to continue in the competition for one of the 8,000 National Merit Scholarships, worth about $35 million total, to be offered in the spring.
“Devon is a diligent student who is inquisitive, hardworking and persistent,” said Sally Lancaster, Everett High School principal. “She has excelled in her classes at Everett High and in Running Start through Everett Community College.”
“Sai has a 3.98 GPA while taking the most rigorous coursework that we offer. In addition to his excellence in the classroom, Sai has an amazing array of interests and talents,” added Dave Peters, Henry M. Jackson principal.
“One of his strengths is his leadership ability which has been on display in a variety of clubs and activities around Jackson, specifically his work with the Technology Student Association (TSA). For the first time in history, the National TSA board elected two national officers from Washington State, and one of them is Sai Nimmagadda.”
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 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 each semifinalist and 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 scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.