Despite Incline's relatively small enrollment of 331 students, Incline produced more National Merit semifinalists than Galena (1,500 students) and McQueen (1,900 students) high schools combined, and as many as Wooster High School, which sports a population of 1,500.
Four students from Incline High School have been selected as semifinalists for this year's National Merit Scholarship Program. Michael Ceragioli, Sean McClelland, Shanna Murray and Sterling Vinson are among 21 students from the Washoe County School District to receive the honor, which goes out to 16,000 student nationwide.
These academically-talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 million which are awarded each spring.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
More than 1.5 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2008 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
For recognition as a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores confirming the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.
The semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's essay and information about their participation and leadership in school and community activities.