EVANSTON, Ill. — A Cadillac High School student is one of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th National Merit Scholarship Program.
Jenna Stahlecker was the lone Cadillac student who was announced to be a semifinalist by officials from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. No other Cadillac area schools had students named as semifinalists.
Stahlecker found out she was a semifinalist late Wednesday morning and to say she was surprised was an understatement.
“I found out less than an hour ago,” Stahlecker said just before noon Wednesday. “I was pretty surprised. I didn’t think I would be a semifinalist.”
Stahlecker and the other seniors named have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered a semifinalist, students must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 95% of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing. Approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system or state.
High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
The Cadillac senior said she took a test prep class during her sophomore and junior years which helped to prep students in the subject areas of mathematics and reading. Regardless of whether she receives the scholarship, Stahlecker said she plans to go to college. She is not sure where exactly or what she will study, but she is leaning toward the University of Michigan or some other college or university in Michigan/Midwest.
Stahlecker is involved in varsity soccer, National Honor Society, quiz bowl and student council. She also has a part-time job.
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, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received.
A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
For more information about the competition, please visit www.nationalmerit.org.