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Two Norfolk Academy seniors, Henry Allgeier '23 and Mackenzie Savage '23, have been recognized as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Only a tiny fraction of high school seniors earn this annual honor. Henry and Mackenzie are two of roughly 16,000 semifinalists this year; those students represent less than 1% of high school seniors across the nation. Students gained consideration by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen.

In addition to their academic successes, both Henry and Mackenzie perform in a number of extracurricular activities.

Henry has been a standout for several years on Norfolk Academy's successful Varsity Sailing team. Most recently, he earned conference, state, and even national honors as a junior, teaming up to win the TCIS regatta championship and helping the Bulldogs to the State Team Race title. As a sophomore, he medaled at the June 2021 ILCA National Championships. As a freshman, he was an all-state skipper. 

He also is a member of the school's Cum Laude Society Class of 2023; the society promotes scholarship and learning at secondary schools across the nation. In addition, he is a dedicated member of Norfolk Academy’s Robotics Team and led the team to participation in First Tech competitions as a junior. 

Mackenzie has excelled in both athletics and fine arts at the Academy. On the Varsity Girls Tennis team since freshman year, she helped the Bulldogs win the TCIS title and reach the state semifinals last fall; she earned second-team all-state honors. She has performed for three years in school chorus, and in 2020 qualified for the competitive District Chorus that recognizes outstanding singers from around the entire region. For good measure, she also takes guitar lessons. 

Among her other extracurricular activities, she is in the Cum Laude Society; CHKD Club; and Book Club, serving as secretary as a junior; and contributes to the Belfry school newspaper. 

Semifinalists can apply to become finalists, a group that will be announced in early 2023. 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. Toria Kauffman '22, who is at Harvard University, and Gavin Goss '22, who is at Dartmouth College, earned the honor earlier this year, with Toria ultimately earning a scholarship. Sean Miller '20, who is at the University of Virginia on the premier Jefferson Scholarship, received the honor in 2020. Brammy Rajakumar '19, who is at Harvard, received the honor in 2019.

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 950 corporate-sponsored awards will be provided by about 180 businesses for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. And about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 awards for Finalists who will attend their institution.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization, conducts the scholarship program. 

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