Bettendorf High School National Merit students: Back row (left to right) Breanna Vermeer, Jason Jiang, Justin Hettlage. From row: Allison Kling and Oskar Skogman.
Five Bettendorf High School seniors were recently recognized by the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Justin Hettlage and Jason Jiang received recognition as semifinalists. Allison Kling, Oskar Skogman, and Breanna Vermeer were recognized as commended scholars.
”With this level of achievement, these students and the staff at Bettendorf High School exemplify determination and excellence,” said Principal Joy Kelly. "We are extraordinarily proud of Justin, Jason, Allison, Oskar, and Breanna for achieving such a high standard. Their honor is a testament to their determination, the rigorous curriculum provided by their teachers and the support and guidance provided by their families.”
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling several requirements. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing and approximately half of the Finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
Established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Program, NMSC is a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance. Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by NMSC’s own funds and approximately 500 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Over 1.5 million juniors in nearly 22,000 high schools entered the National Merit Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a Finalist, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance. The Semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the Semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.