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    GHS Senior Smith Graham who recently was named a finalist in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program for 2017. Leader photo by Thomas Wallner

Graham earns prestigious National Merit Finalist honor

GHS Senior Smith Graham was named as a finalist in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program and beginning in Spring, awards for that honor will be announced via four nationwide news releases that run until July.
Graham was up against a nationwide pool of 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools who took the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The pool includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state and the number of semifinalists is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
“To become a semifinalist, it was based off of your PSAT scores which we took the fall of junior year and then they picked, I don’t know the exact number, but they pick a certain percentile from each state, so if you are in that percentile you become a semifinalist,” Graham said.
About 90 percent of the semifinalists were expected to attain finalist standing and about half of the finalists are expected to win a National Merit Scholarship, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. To become a finalist, the student must submit a detailed scholarship application similar to a college application.

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