Fifty-three seniors named semifinalists in National Achievement Scholarship competition

September 24, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – September 24, 2008 – Fifty-three African American seniors in 34 South Carolina public high schools have been named semifinalists in the 45th annual National Achievement Scholarship competition. They are among more than 1,600 students to achieve this honor nationwide.

Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 800 scholarships worth over $2.6 million to be awarded next spring.  The National Achievement Program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and began in 1964 to recognize promising black students.

Four high schools in the Midlands and Upstate have the largest number of South Carolina semifinalists with four each – Richland District Two’s Richland Northeast High and Spring Valley High, Dutch Fork High School in Lexington-Richland District Five, and Spartanburg High in Spartanburg District Seven.  The Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville had three semifinalists, along with Spartanburg District Six’s Dorman High.  Two students from private schools also qualified. 

Approximately 1,300 semifinalists are expected to fulfill additional requirements and advance to the finalist level. All National Achievement Scholars will be selected from the finalist group on the basis of their abilities, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

More than 150,000 high school juniors from all parts of the United States entered the 2009 National Achievement Program when they took the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  Semifinalists are designated within geographic regions and are the highest-scoring program entrants in the states that make up each region.

National Achievement Scholarships provided in 2009 will be supported by corporations, professional organizations, foundations and by National Merit’s own funds.  Winners’ names will be announced in early April.  Over 27,800 young men and women have received Achievement Scholarship awards worth more than $91 million since the program began.