Seven seniors in Grand Forks schools have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program semi-finalists.

They are, at Grand Forks Central High School, Dennis Du, Stella Niemeier and Adam Swartz, and, at Red River High School, Nabeel Hossain, Collin Polasky, Eliot Schumacher and Theodore Tchomakhidze.

These students are among about 16,000 semifinalists in the 66th annual scholarship program.

More than 1.5 million high school juniors, representing roughly 21,000 high schools nationwide, entered the program by completing the 2019 Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The semifinalists in each state are proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

About 15,000 of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing and will be notified in February of the designation, according to Tracy Jentz, communications and community engagement coordinator for Grand Forks Public Schools.

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Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be given, in addition to about 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

National Merit Scholars are selected by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Established in 1955, the organization’s mission is to recognize and honor academically talented students in the United States.