September 15, 2016
By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools
Eight students from five high schools in Rutherford County have been named semifinalists for the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program, the organization announced this week.
The list includes four students from Central Magnet School — Spencer Howell, Adam Johnson, Brendan Ni and Nathan Smith — along with Lanier Youngman (Blackman), Olivia Zietz (Oakland), Megan Taylor (Riverdale) and Isabelle Palmer (Siegel).
The RCS students are among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide and will compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totaling about $33 million.
Ninety percent of the semifinalists are expected to reach finalist standings in February, according to a release from the NMSC, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 that operates without government assistance.
The program is underwritten by its own funds and approximately 420 business partners.
To advance, semifinalists must provide detailed scholarship applications with academic records, a list of school and community activities, demonstrate leadership abilities, employment history, and a list of honors and awards they have earned.
Winners will be announced beginning in April 2017 through July.
Murfreesboro, which is the sixth largest in the state, was among only 50 cities in Tennessee with semifinalists named to the list.