Garrett Garzonie of McAllen High School has been named to a prestigious group of national scholars.

Out of an initial pool of 1.6 million students, Garzonie has become one of the national Semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit® Scholarship Program, placing him in the top one percent in the country. Only five students in the Rio Grande Valley earned this honor.

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program on Wednesday, September 13. These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship ® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 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.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit

Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying

Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2018.

Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. National Merit Scholarship winners of 2018 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July.