Semifinalist Hoogenboom, Porter and Zhou advance to national competition

2017-18 National Merit Scholarship finalists
Posted on 02/22/2018
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Three Beaufort County students honored
as National Merit finalists for 2017-18

BLUFFTON – All three Beaufort County School District students named last fall as semifinalists in the 2017-18 National Merit Scholarship Program have advanced to the next level of competition.

Selected as national finalists were Christopher Hoogenboom (Beaufort High), Matthew Porter (May River High) and Yi Zhou (Bluffton High).  They will compete with other finalists for 7,500 college scholarships worth about $32 million. 

“To have all three of our semifinalists advance in such a prestigious academic competition is wonderful,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “The whole community is proud of them.”

About 1.6 million students from more than 22,000 American high schools initially entered the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  About 15,000 students were eventually selected as finalists.

To advance to the final round of competition, each semifinalist and his high school had to submit a detailed application that provided information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, honors and awards.  In addition, each semifinalist had to be endorsed and recommended by an official from his high school, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirmed the student’s earlier score on the qualifying test.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. is a nonprofit established in 1955, and its scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and more than 400 businesses and higher education institutions.