HANCOCK COUNTY — The county had one National Merit Scholarship semifinalist named on the nationwide list of students released earlier this month. That lone county student is New Palestine High School’s Noah J. Dropsey.

Officials with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of more than 16,000 semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program Sept. 13. The academically talented high school seniors now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. Officials say about 95 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.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Eastern Hancock High School’s Griffin Lawrence was named as a commended student.

Officials with Eastern Hancock High School say they are proud after learning student Griffin Lawrence was named as a “commended student” associated with the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.

While Griffin wasn’t named as one of the 16,000 semifinalist, he was recognized as one of 34,000 students from across the United States to be commended for their exceptional academic promise.

In a release from the National Merit Scholarship program officials noted although the students who are commended do not continue in the 2024 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, commended students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2024 competition by taking the 2022 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

“Those being named commented students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” a spokesperson for the National Merit Scholarship program said in a release. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of education excellence in out nation.”

Officials with the National Merit Scholarship program noted they hope the recognition will help students like Griffin to broaden their education opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.