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3 students chosen as National Merit Semi-Finalists, 2 as commended students

National Merit Semifinalists

(National Merit-Semi Finalists - Left to right: Ellenna Divingnzzo, Xander Muniz, Gracie Sunde)


(Commended Students - Left to right: Owen Larson and Kaia Sullivan)

Papillion La Vista South High School had three students make it to the semi-finalist round of the National Merit Competition and two students were national merit commended, which totals five students making it to the qualifying round.

The National Merit process begins in the fall of a student’s junior year by taking the PSAT exam.  In the spring, high schools are notified which of their students qualify for the National Merit Scholarship competition based on their PSAT scores.  Out of the one million plus students who take the PSAT, only 50,000 are chosen to qualify.  

In early September, the high schools were notified which of their qualifying students made it to the semi-finalist round of the competition.  From the 50,000 qualifiers, 16,000 students are selected to be semi-finalists.  

Owen Larson
Kaia Sullivan

Ellenna Divingnzzo
Xander Muniz
Gracie Sunde

Semi-finalists complete a National Merit finalist application, including an essay and letter of recommendation, and also take the SAT or ACT. 

The students will find out in February if the semi-finalist students become finalists.  If students become a finalist, there is the potential to earn scholarships, depending on their first-choice college or university.

Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is typically below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit® Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

This is a great accomplishment for students no matter if they are a semi-finalist or commended student, and we congratulate them!