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Plainfield student named National Achievement semifinalist

10/1/2014, 4:46 p.m.
Plainfield South High School senior Olivia Malone is one of 1,600 Black American high school seniors named semifinalists in the ...

Plainfield South High School senior Olivia Malone is one of 1,600 Black American high school seniors named semifinalists in the 51st annual National Achievement Scholarship Program.

Malone is also one of four District 202 students recently named 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is aligned with the National Merit Scholarship Program, which honors students for their academic success.

These scholastically talented students may now compete for about 800 achievement scholarships worth about $2.5 million. The scholarship winners will be announced next spring.

Semifinalists must present a record of high academic performance throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm their PSAT/NMSQT performance.

About 80 percent of this year's semifinalists will be named finalists, and about half of finalists will win academic scholarship awards.

To become a finalist, semifinalists and their high schools must submit a detailed scholarship application including the student's academic record, school participation and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is a privately financed academic competition. It was initiated in 1964 to recognize academically promising black students nationwide and to provide scholarships to a substantial number of the most outstanding program participants. To date, about 33,500 young men and women have won achievement scholarships worth about $105 million.

More than 160,000 high school juniors nationwide requested consideration in the 2015 National Achievement Scholarship Program when they took the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Every finalist will compete for one of the 700 one-time National Achievement $2,500 scholarships, which will be awarded regionally. As well, corporate and business sponsors will underwrite about 100 Achievement Scholarships for Finalists who meet the grantor's criteria.