Two students from West, one from East, earn national recognition

Three students from Hamblen County have been named as semifinalists for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship.

Christopher Verzosa, a senior at Morristown-Hamblen High School East, and Emma Purgason and Mary Noe, seniors at Morristown-Hamblen High School West, have been named as semifinalists for the 2020 award.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently named 16,000 semifinalists for the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Those students will have the chance to compete for 7,600 scholarships worth around $31 million.

Past Hamblen County students who have been chosen as semifinalists include Mattie Bryant, Josh Mandzak and Paxtyn Lawson.

Anna R. Kutbay, a former West High School student now attending the University of Alabama, is currently highlighted with a profile on the front page of the National Merit Scholarship website.

According to the National Merit Scholarship, more than 90 percent of semi-finalists will reach finalist standing and half of those will be awarded scholarships.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about academic record, demonstrated leadership abilities, community activities, employment and honors and awards.

SAT or ACT scores are also considered in the qualifying.

More than 1.5 million juniors nationwide entered into the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Three types of scholarships will be awarded. There will be 2,500 scholarships worth $2,500. More than 1,000 corporate sponsored scholarships from 220 corporations will be offered. More than 180 colleges and universities will also offer 4,100 college-sponsored scholarships.

The winners of these scholarships will be named in April, according the National Merit Scholarship Corp.