20-21 National Merit Semifinalist Collage

Four students from the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District have qualified as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists based on the results of the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Tests they took last fall.

The students -- Emma Laurence, Feoden Soriano and Vishal Venkatesh from Granada High School and Alicia Zhang from Livermore High School – will now compete with about 15,000 other semifinalists from high schools across the country to become National Merit Scholarship finalists.

Finalists will be selected by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a privately funded, nonprofit organization that has administered the program since 1955, based on criteria including the students’ academic records, local recommendations, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, and essays. Finalists are eligible for about $35 million in National Merit scholarships.

“The hard work, focus, and commitment to academic excellence required to be recognized as a National Merit semifinalist is significant,” said Livermore schools superintendent Kelly Bowers.

The Livermore school district semifinalists, and 22 other local students who received National Merit letters of commendation, were formally recognized at a Board of Trustees meeting in January.

Typically, only about 1% of all high school students qualify as semifinalists.