Redondo Union high school

New Student Services building which is also the new Diamond Street front entrance of Redondo Union High School. Photo by Brad Graverson 8-23-10

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced its 2020 list of semifinalist high school students Tuesday, who will compete for a share of 7,600 scholarships worth more than $31 million. Winners will be announced nationally between April and July next year.

High school juniors, 11th graders, in about 21,000 high schools in the United States entered the academic competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The highest-scoring students in each state represent the pool of semifinalists who, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, represent less than 1% of United States high school seniors.

Here is the list of beach city semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program in Los Angeles County by school and home town:



  • Emily M. Ford

Mira Costa HS

  • Alexander G. Fiorito
  • Jonathan J. Qi


Redondo Union HS

  • Sundeep Chakladar
  • Vanessa Rebentisch


Da Vinci Science HS

  • Philip D. Johnson

El Segundo HS

  • Jonas M. Bar-On

Vistamar School

  • Adin L. Handler
  • Brian S. Macdonald

The next step for a semifinalist to become a finalist is to complete the required application that includes their SAT or ACT scores, an essay and a letter of recommendation by a high school official.

Finalists are then chosen on the basis of academic record, their participation in community and school activities, how they have demonstrated leadership ability, employment and awards and honors received.

From a group of about 16,000 semifinalists, an expected 15,000 advance to finalists. Students are notified in February if they are finalists and half of those win a scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship winners, chosen on the basis of accomplishments, skills and potential for college success, are selected from this last group. Winners are notified, on a rolling basis, from March to June next year.

High school students interested in applying in future years need to talk to their school counselor to make arrangements to take the PSAT/NMSQT test. Registration is through the high school and not by the students. For information on the competition,

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation was established in 1955 and is an independent, not-for-profit group that does not operate with government assistance. Since its founding it has awarded about 432,000 scholarships worth over $1.7 billion.

The goals of the organization are to reward academically-dedicated students, encourage academic excellence at all levels of education, promote a deeper respect for learning in general and to encourage individuals and organizations to sponsor scholarships.

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

Load comments