National Merit 2020_Semifinalists

Students from Blacksburg, Roanoke and Roanoke County are semifinalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship competition.

The program recognizes students who perform well on the preliminary SAT. The National Merit Scholarship Corp. said about 16,000 students advanced to the semifinalist level from a pool of 1.5 million.

Semifinalists are among the highest scoring entrants in each state. Officials with the organization this month announced the names of students who earned the honor.

Blacksburg High School has eight semifinalists: Emma Bush, Brandon Fan, Melissa Meng, Claire Morton, Yannick Pleimling, Vishvesha Sridhar, Kaitlynn Wolfe and Alice Xu.

Caroline Larsen, a homeschooled student in Blacksburg, also reached the semifinalist level.

In Roanoke, Patrick Henry High School student Charles Murphy is a semifinalist.

Roanoke County has three semifinalists: Kevin Sheng of Cave Spring High School; and Erik Scarlatescu and Hannah Mixon of Hidden Valley High School.

The organization expects about 15,000 semifinalists to become finalists. To reach the level, the student and a high school official must submit an application that provides information on the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities and other details.

Semifinalists must also submit an essay and earn an SAT or ACT score that confirms the student’s performance on the preliminary SAT.

The organization will select 7,600 National Merit Scholarship winners from the finalist pool announced in February. Three types of scholarships will be offered: a $2,500 National Merit award, college-sponsored award and a corporate-sponsored award.

Winners will be announced between April and July.

STAR Council to host dodgeball tournament

A group of Roanoke high school students will host its second annual Help the Homeless Dodgeball Tournament on Oct. 5.

The STAR Council, comprised of students from William Fleming and Patrick Henry high schools, is sponsoring the fundraiser. The funds will help students identified as homeless by Roanoke City Public Schools.

The tournament begins at 2 p.m. at Patrick Henry High. Admission is $5. Teams will be made up of middle and high school students in addition to faculty members.

Roanoke said the student-led council raised nearly $12,000 through the tournament last year.

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