When it comes to academic contests, there are few as rigorous or prestigious as the National Merit Scholarship Program. Of the more than 1.5 million high school students who entered the competition this year, only 7,600 will prevail to win an estimated $31 million in scholarships—and among those in the running are 15 Canyons District students.

Students from Brighton, Corner Canyon, Jordan and Hillcrest high schools today were announced as semifinalists for 2020 National Merit Scholarship Awards. They are among 16,000 top scholars nationally and 155 in Utah to advance this far in the competition.  

The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number of Utah semifinalists is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record and show participation in school and community activities as well as leadership qualities.

The finalists and winners of the 2020 scholarships will be announced in the spring. The students and their schools are:

Brighton High
Grace A. Sheffield
Jacob Simmons

Corner Canyon High
John Bodell
Cooper C. Gardiner
Camryn J. Young

Jordan High
Richard J. Barnes
Isaac Christiansen

Hillcrest High
Horace Gao
Luke Kim
Advait Mahajan
Victor A. Petrov
Sraavya Pinjala
Marcus J. Turnbull
Laura H. Wan
Emily Zhang
It’s the equivalent of the power rankings in prep sports — except it’s for academics. Fourteen students representing all of Canyons District's five traditional high schools have been named semi-finalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship program. 

They join about 16,000 other top scholars who this week advanced in the prestigious competition to vie for 7,500 scholarships worth $32 million. These coveted college recruits were chosen from 1.6 million students at more than 22,000 high schools.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. The students and their schools are:  

ALTA HIGH
Nathan L. Brown

BRIGHTON
Joshua R. Brodbeck

CORNER CANYON
August W. Burton
Aaron B. Jackson

HILLCREST
Richard Abbott
Bryson V. Armstrong
Mohammed F. Khan
Chu Un Kim
Kara Komarnitsky
Madeline K. Martin
Joshua S. Raty
Alexander K. Sun
Vivek Vankayalapati

JORDAN
Daniel J. Ross
Canyons School District is home to two 2017 National Merit Scholars.

Eric Jackson of Corner Canyon and Brian Johnson of Jordan are among 2,500 high school seniors chosen nationally for the prestigious academic honor.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, students had to complete a detailed application with an essay and provide information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions. They were judged by a panel of college admissions officers and high school counselors who looked at students’ academic records, including grades and rigor of the courses they completed.   

But first, students had to score high enough on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Of the 1.6 million American teens who took the test in their junior year, only the top 1 percent, or 16,000, made the cut. That list was then whittled further to 7,500 finalists.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation also awards college-sponsored, merit-based scholarships to deserving students nationwide. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. Among the winners of the first round of college-sponsored awards are three CSD students:

  • Jordan High's Peter Maughan who will be attending the University of Utah
  • Hillcrest High's Alexandra Carlile who will be attending Brigham Young University
  • Brighton High's Emily Hyde who will be attending Brigham Young University
Canyons District appears to be the launching pad for teen scholars who are skyrocketing toward their academic goals.

Eighteen Canyons students have been named as semi-finalists in the 2014-2015 National Merit Scholar competition. The semi-finalists from Canyons District in this school year’s scholarship competition are: 

•   Alta: Sarah Farnsworth, Lauren Hansen

•   Brighton: Lauren Beckstrang, Carson Crandell, Jessica Parker, Hannah Potter, Sierra Rupper, Abigail Ward

•   Corner Canyon: Zachary Talbot, Savannah Tiffany

•   Hillcrest: Carson B. Breivik, Daniel Fang, Peter E. Johnston, John C. Ludlum, Joseph P. Morrell, Bovey Y. Rao, Joseph J. Raty, Amy Zhan

The high-achieving students represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. They were selected based on their scores on the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. 

The list of finalists will be released in February. Winners of this year’s scholarships will be announced in spring.

It’s March Madness of a different kind for Canyons District students who remain in contention to become a 2013 National Merit Scholar.
 
Seven students from Hillcrest High, two from Alta High and one student from Jordan High are anxiously awaiting word about whether they’ve been chosen for the prestigious honor. The National Merit Scholarship Committee is scheduled in the coming weeks to mail scholarship offers to winners at their homes and notices to high school principals.
 
The students were recently announced as finalists in the 58th annual competition. The high-achieving students are among the approximately 16,000 students nationwide to earn finalist status by demonstrating scholastic excellence, leadership capability and involvement in school activities and clubs.  
 
The students have already advanced through two rounds of judging. The primary round, announced in September, awarded the students semifinalist status. As finalists, they are vying for 8,300 scholarships collectively worth about $32 million. The students are:
 
Hillcrest High School
Jacob Brown
Cory D. Goates
Aaron A. Johnson
Micah R. Johnston
John R. Morrell
Jarom T. Norris
Caius S. Worthen

Alta High School
Parker Awerkamp
Macey Crockett
 
Jordan High School
Jessica Lindsay
 
About 1.5 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, the initial screen of the applicants. Students also must submit an essay, be recommended by the high school principal, and demonstrate leadership at school and in the community.