CHS seniors named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

CHS seniors named 2020 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Two Concord High School seniors have been named semifinalists for the 2020 National Merit Scholarships.

Seniors Hailey Gallant and Rachel Rowe join about 16,000 other high school seniors across the country that were named Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, as semifinalists for the prestigious scholarship.

  • Hailey Gallant is the daughter of Barb and Simon Yoder. Upon her graduation in the spring of 2020, she plans to attend a 4-year college or university to study biology.
  • Rachel Rowe is the daughter of Kevin and Leslie Rowe. After graduation, she plans to attend college to major in biochemistry.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools across the country entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. About 90% of semifinalists are named finalists, and around half of the finalists go on to receive a scholarship.

Gallant and Rowe will now compete for a share of 7,600 scholarships worth more than $31 million. Winners will be announced nationally between April and July next year.


The National Merit Scholarship Corporation was established in 1955 and is an independent, not-for-profit group that does not operate with government assistance. Since its founding it has awarded about 432,000 scholarships worth over $1.7 billion.

High school juniors may enter the annual scholarship competition by taking the annual Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The highest-scoring students in each state represent the pool of semifinalists who represent less than 1% of United States high school seniors.

The next step for a semifinalist to become a finalist is to complete the required application that includes their SAT or ACT scores, an essay and a letter of recommendation. Finalists are chosen on the basis of academic record, their participation in community and school activities, how they have demonstrated leadership ability, employment and awards and honors received.

From a group of about 16,000 semifinalists, an expected 15,000 advance to finalists. Students are notified in February if they are finalists and half of those win a scholarship.