11 Centre County seniors named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. on Tuesday released the names of its 2015 semifinalists, including 11 high school seniors from Centre County.

The semifinalists are Penns Valley Area High School student Maria McQuaide and State College Area High School students Noah Beattie-Moss, Miranda Chen, Elias Jaenicke, Katherine Lee, Michael Rury, George Saleeby, Andrew Shu, Rosalie Sowers, Jacob Van Hook and Kevin Xu.

National Merit Scholarships will award about 7,600 scholarships worth $33 million in the spring, according to a news release from National Merit.

About 1.4 million students in more than 22,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2013 preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

To be a finalist, the student must submit a detailed scholarship application and must have an “outstanding academic record” and a recommendation from a school official. Each student also must write an essay and perform well on the SATs.