Joshua Coleman (Dutch Fork High, Clemson University), Justin Kennedy (Dutch Fork High, University of South Carolina), and Holden Gabriel (Chapin High, Clemson University), were named winners of this year’s National Merit Scholarships. The awards to these three students were part of the third round of National Merit Scholarship award announcements and are winners of the college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

“We are ecstatic for these additional School District Five students for receiving this incredible accomplishment,” said District Five Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton. “This is further evidence of the academic excellence, rigor and college preparation in School District Five. I know that these students have a very bright future ahead and we wish them the best as they further their studies at the University of South Carolina and Clemson University!”

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, Semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each Semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance.

In May, Madeleine Maylath (Chapin High) and Nieky Wang (Irmo High) were named winners of this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, while Grayson Fletcher (Chapin High) was named a Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarship winner. The awards to these three students were part of the first two rounds of National Merit Scholarship award announcements.

Most National Merit awards provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2017 when over 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists.

Additional National Merit Scholarship awards will be announced nationwide July 15.

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