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Cibola seniors named semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship

Whitson and AskariCibola High School seniors Zarrin Askari and Julia Whitson were named semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Corporation competition. They are two of more than 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

“The last thing I expected after walking out of the PSAT exam room in January was qualifying as a National Merit semifinalist, which makes achieving the title feel all the more surprising and honorable,” Askari said. “To earn the opportunity to compete for a spot as a finalist and for the scholarship is exciting and serves as a tribute to my teachers, counselor, and parents, who continue to encourage and push me to reach my academic ambitions.”

According to their official website, these academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

“Being a semi-finalist feels pretty great,” Whitson said. “I'm excited to see hard work paying off, and I appreciate my family and the teachers who have supported me along the way.”

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 410 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Kevin Swearingin