East, Northwest boast 12 National Merit semifinalists

A dozen Wichita public school students were named semifinalists Wednesday in the National Merit Scholarship competition.

Eight of the semifinalists attend East High School; four attend Northwest.

Students become National Merit semifinalists by taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) during their junior year and scoring in the top one-half of 1 percent in the state.

Nationwide, about 16,000 students were named semifinalists. About 90 percent will achieve finalist status based on other requirements, such as academic skills, extracurricular accomplishments and an essay.

Finalists will compete this spring for 8,400 National Merit Scholarships of $2,500. Scholarship winners will be announced in the spring.

This is the fourth year the Wichita school district has paid for all 10th-graders to take the PSAT. So, when they enter 11th grade, they have some experience when they take the test to qualify for scholarship money, as well as when they take the ACT or SAT for college placement.