IRMO – Four students from Lexington-Richland School District Five have earned National Merit Scholarships.

Matthew Herbst (Dutch Fork High), Sanatana Reddy (Dutch Fork High), and Mason Williams (Spring Hill High) were named winners of this year’s National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, while Sarah Thomas (Dutch Fork High) was named a Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarship winner. The awards to these four students were part of the first two rounds of National Merit Scholarship award announcements. Winners of the college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award will be announced later this month and in July.

“We congratulate these students for being named National Merit Scholarship winners,” said District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner. “This is another incredible accomplishment that School District Five can add to an already impressive list for the school year. I know that these students have a very bright future ahead and we wish them the best as they move forward!”

Scholars are selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition. Most National Merit awards provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2016 when over 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named Semifinalists.

From the Semifinalist group, nearly 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. School District Five had a total of 17 finalists this school year. Additional National Merit Scholarship awards will be announced nationwide June 6 and July 16.