Seven students at Grand Forks Central and Red River high schools have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program finalists.

The students are: Grand Forks Central High School seniors Dennis Du, Stella Niemeier and Adam Swartz; and Red River High School seniors Nabeel Hossain, Collin Polasky, Eliot Schumacher and Theodore Tchomakhidze.

They are among about 16,000 semifinalists in the 66th annual scholarship program, according to a Grand Forks Public Schools official.

About 1.5 million high school juniors in more than 21,000 high schools nationwide entered the program by completing the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The finalists in each state are proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

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

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