Sean Miller ’20 has been recognized as a Semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Only a tiny fraction of high school seniors earn this annual honor. Sean is one of roughly 16,000 semifinalists this year; more than 1.5 million students gained consideration by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen.
Semifinalists, who represent less than 1 percent of seniors from across the country, include the highest-scoring entrants.
Sean has been at Norfolk Academy since first grade. He is Vice President of the senior class, and an active member of The Academy Players, playing such roles as Harry in My Fair Lady and James Keller in Miracle Worker. He’s also President of the International Relations club; Vice President of the Science Fiction club; and secretary of the Fine Arts Association.
“Sean is a prodigiously talented young man — one of the most verbally gifted students I’ve encountered in my tenure at the Academy,” said Dennis Manning, who has been Norfolk Academy’s Headmaster since 2001. “He has the ability and confidence to elevate any discussion or class, to respectfully challenge his peers and even teachers — from advanced physics to Shakespeare. His sensitivity to language finds another home in our drama program where his natural sense of tone and dialogue bring to life character and plot in our main stage productions.”
Semifinalists can now apply to become Finalists, a group that will be announced early next year. To earn that honor, Semifinalists and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application with academic information, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. They must have outstanding academic records throughout high school, receive a recommendation from a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test.
Norfolk Academy has been fortunate to have many National Merit Finalists over the years. Brammy Rajakumar ’19, who is now studying at Harvard University, received the honor in February.
All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the group of Finalists. They are chosen on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, or religion.
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered next spring. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored awards will be provided by about 220 businesses for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. And about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 awards for Finalists who will attend their institution.
NMSC, a not-for-profit organization, conducts the scholarship program.