5 Beaufort high school seniors named 2020 National Merit semifinalists

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Five Beaufort County high school seniors have been announced as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Beaufort High School’s Ian Hoogenboom along with Morgan Chumney, Sarah Lawrence, Sydney Lawrence, and Caroline O’Neal of Holy Trinity Classical Christian School earned the semifinalist moniker, an honor in itself. They will will compete with other national semifinalists for 7,500 college scholarships worth more than $31 million.

“Ian is an outstanding student, and we’re confident he’ll do well in the next stages of this national competition,” Beaufort County School District Superintendent Frank Rodriguez said in a release. “We’re very proud of him.”

The four girls from Holy Trinity Classical Christian School are from the school’s first graduating class.

“We are immensely proud of these four students. Truly, they embody the love of learning that is at the core of Holy Trinity Classical Christian School,” founding headmaster Rev. Chad E. Lawrence said in a release. “It is fitting that their hard work, inquisitive natures, and pursuit of excellence should be dignified through this accomplishment. But this is also a celebration for our entire school community. For Holy Trinity to have four National Merit Semifinalists in our inaugural graduating class speaks to the superb teachers, strong curriculum, and top notch learning environment we have sought to build here over the past seven years. Soli Deo Gloria!”

More than 1.5 million high school students from about 21,000 American high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. About 16,000 semifinalists, including roughly 200 from South Carolina, were announced Sept. 11.

To become a finalist in the next stage of the national competition, each semifinalist and his or her high school must now submit a detailed application that provides information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, honors and awards. In addition, each semifinalist must be endorsed and recommended by an official from their high school, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier score on the qualifying test.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. is a nonprofit established in 1955, and its scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and more than 400 businesses and higher education institutions.

Above: The four Holy Trinity seniors named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists are pictured from left to right, Sydney Lawrence, Caroline O’Neal, Morgan Chumney, and Sarah Lawrence.

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