Students from Jackson and Hoover high schools have reached the semifinals of the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Three area high school students are semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship program, founded in 1955, awards scholarships to students who show "exceptional academic ability and the potential for success in rigorous college studies." Scholarships are underwritten by the program as well as funds from about 410 business organizations and higher education institutes.

Stark County's semifinalists are:

Arjun Shanmugam at Jackson High School
Clayton B. Washington at Jackson High School
Shiv S. Dewan at Hoover High School

More than 1.6 million high school juniors at 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 contest by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test.

From that number, 16,000 semifinalists are chosen — they represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and include the highest-scoring students in their state. Semifinalists move into the finalists round by completing a scholarship application with information on academics and school and community activities. They also must be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn high SAT scores.

Finalists will compete for 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships awarded on a state-representational basis.

An additional 1,000 corporate-based scholarships will be awarded to finalists who meet businesses specific criteria. And 180 colleges and universities will award about 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarships to students who attend their school.

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