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National Merit Scholarship semifinalists named; One Cape Coral youth on the list

By Staff | Sep 9, 2008

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of 16,000 semifinalists for the scholarship program, including a number of students from Cape Coral and Fort Myers.

For 54 years the corporation has been providing students from across the United States with the National Merit Scholarship. Officials now will sift through each application to decide the recipients of the 8,200 available scholarships worth an estimated $34 million.

“They need to supply us with information before they can win a scholarship. From the finalist level the recipients are chosen,” said Eileen Artemakis, spokesperson for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Joshua M. Byerly, a home-schooled student from Cape Coral, is one of the thousands of semifinalists announced Monday.

Fort Myers has eight students who are up for the scholarship including Alexander Kovensky and Craig L. Miller from Canterbury School; Grace C. Blitzer, Ali A. Dosani and Steven D. Waldorf from Fort Myers High School; and Laurel C. Bergau, Nicholas L. Kordonowy and Emily R. Simpson from Bishop Verot High School.

This year more than 1.5 million juniors from high schools all over the United States earned a chance for a scholarship by taking the PSAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. After students finish the exam, their results are sent to the corporation that cosponsors the test, and the semifinalists are chosen from the highest scoring entrants from each state.

According to the corporation, students must have an outstanding academic record, have a principal’s endorsement and earn high SAT scores to be considered a finalist. A student must also write a personal essay and provide information on their activities around school.

Artemakis explained that there are three types of scholarships. First, there is a $2,500 scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The other is a corporate scholarship, and the third is a college sponsorship, both varying in value.

The corporate sponsorships are based on criteria imposed by the corporation, she said, and can vary from a single payment between $2,500 to $5,000 or a fixed yearly stipend ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 each year.

College-sponsored scholarships go to students who indicate that they want to attend a specific college or university. If they make that school their first choice, they are eligible for between $500 to $2,000 every year.

For more information, visit: www.nationalmerit.org.