Six western Kentucky students were announced among about 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The announcement was made Sept. 11 by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

These high school seniors can continue in the competition for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 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. Over 90% 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.

Area semifinalists include:

• Hope Hodges of McCracken County High School, who plans on studying drama and theater arts.

• Jason Qiu, a McCracken County High School student attending the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Bowling Green, who plans to study computer science.

• Ryan Chua of Paducah Tilghman High School, who plans on studying computer programming.

• Noah Watson of Alma Mater Academy, a Paducah homeschool, who plans on studying the physical sciences.

• Riley Sheridan of Mayfield High School, who plans on studying the physical sciences.

• Bradley Dawson of Murray High School, who plans on studying aerospace and space engineering.

Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners will be announced on April 22, while National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners will be named on May 13 and College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship winners will be announced on June 3 and July 13.

For more information about the competition, visit

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