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Contributed photo/Girls Preparatory School students from left; Annie Thrash and Maggie Parsley; back row: Lily Duplooy, Jennifer Wu, and Hunter McVay.

Five Girls Preparatory School students are among 26 area seniors named Class of 2021 National Merit Scholarship program semifinalists.

Lily Duplooy, Hunter McVay, Maggie Parsley, Annie Thrash and Jennifer Wu were notified on Sept. 10 by school administrators of the news.

Interim Head of School Kirk Walker, through a news release, called the girls "outstanding representatives of our strong senior class."

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. was established in 1955 to identify and honor scholastically talented American youth and to encourage them to develop their abilities to the fullest.

In order to qualify, students as juniors have to take a preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening of more than 1.5 million entrants.

The selection index scores of students were used to designate a pool of about 16,000 semifinalists nationwide. Semifinalists are the highest scorers in each of the 50 states and represent fewer than 1% of each state's high school seniors.

Those who moved on to the finalists level will be notified in February by mail to their home addresses. Principals in their respective schools will be notified as well.

On a rolling basis from March to mid-June, about 7,600 finalists will be selected to receive $2,500 Merit Scholarship awards. Special scholarships are awarded to outstanding students who are not finalists.

According to the program's website, the scholarships must be used "exclusively for undergraduate education at a college or university in the United States that holds accredited status with a regional accrediting commission on higher education."

Here are the area semifinalists:

TENNESSEE

*Chattanooga:

BAYLOR SCHOOL

Yiyang An

Creighton E. Arrington

Alyssa H. Kim

Sophia M. Peirano

Kunzhi Peng

Zinuo Wu

CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Amanda M. Bacon

Elise M. May

CHATTANOOGA SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS AND SCIENCES

Collin J. Matthews

COLLEGIATE HIGH

Braxton J. Mahr

McCALLIE SCHOOL

Giancarlo Raffiolo Dagostino

Jiayi Li

Caleb E. Olumofin

Gregorio Poggi

NOTRE DAME HIGH SCHOOL

Isabella E. Wade

STEM SCHOOL CHATTANOOGA

Lauren G. Bennett

Tucker D. Quering

*Harrison:

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

Grayson Catlett

*Jasper:

MARION COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

Savannah S. Cooksey

*Ooltewah:

HOMESCHOOL

Matthew T. Kimbley

Richard A. Ramont

*Signal Mountain:

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN HIGH SCHOOL

Matthew B. Ashline

Carson B. Bock

Chase W. Post

Seo Yoon Yang

ALABAMA

HOMESCHOOL

Abby E. Carroll

Contact Monique Brand at mbrand@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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