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Three Manhasset High School seniors have been named as finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition (NMSC) sponsored by the College Board: Michelle Luong, Stephen Levy and Joseph Sullivan. They were recognized by the board of education at its Feb. 26 meeting.

In making the introductions, Jane Grappone, director of Guidance and Counseling Services, explained the rigors of the process, one that requires students to select a quote that typifies learning and education. She shared the following quotes that students included in their applications: "Opportunities multiply as they are seized;" "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you'll still land among the stars;" and "Nothing is too small to know, nothing is to big to attempt."

Selection of Merit Finalists began in early September, when about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as semifinalists. To ensure that academically able young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists must advance to finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the materials provided to each semifinalist.

In February, some 15,000 semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided with a certificate to present to each finalist.

All winners of Merit Scholarship awards (Merit Scholar designees) are chosen from the finalist group, based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. A variety of information is available for NMSC selectors to evaluate the finalist's academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the finalist's own essay.


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