The National Merit Scholarship is awarded each year to students from all across the country. The process for the National Merit Scholarship begins the student’s junior year.

Lake High School graduate Connor Dehanaty, who was a finalist, but did not win a scholarship, described the process.

"The National Merit Scholarship is open to anyone who wants to take the test," said Dehanaty, who is the son of Doug and Nicole. He has three siblings – Jake, Sierra and Alex. "The cost is $9 for the test. It starts with the National Merit PSAT. My buddy had a sister who was a finalist. He encouraged me to take the test. I thought why not.  Some students do not want to pay to take the test."

Dehanaty, who will be attending John Hopkins University, describes the yearlong process.

"It is a long process," said Dehanaty, who ran cross country and track at Lake and enjoys playing ping pong, corn hole, reading and writing in his spare time. "Even though I didn’t win, it is worth trying for. There is a lot of waiting, which makes you nervous and causes some anxiety. The test takes about two hours. But if you can win a scholarship, it is definitely worth the effort. It is an adventure. A great experience."

If a student is interested in learning more or taking the PSAT, they should check with their guidance counselors. Most students indicate their schools do promote taking the PSAT. Four of this year’s winners in The Suburbanite's coverage area – Courtney Davis, Lauren Goldie, Carson Keenan and David Klopfer – recommend students should take the test and give it try.

"If I had won the scholarship, it would have definitely helped to pay for college," said Dehanaty. "College is not cheap."

The awards are based on whether an institution recognizes the scholarship or not.

On Monday, the National Merit Scholarship Program announced that Green's Arman Aboutorabi and Jackson's Elias Abboud had been awarded scholarships.

The area's other National Merit Scholarship finalists included Green’s Eleanor Damm and Lexi Brientenstine, Jackson’s Julie Hartnett and Hoover’s Matthew Polatas and Jack Rathbun.