Four local students have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists — Russell’s Jacob Nance, Russell’s Seth Dersha, Ashland’s Benjamin Carey and the Craft Academy’s Duncan McGinnis.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced about 16,000 names on Wednesday. These high school seniors have an opportunity to advance in the competition for about 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million, according to a press release.

Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to finalist status. They must submit a detailed application, which will highlight community service, leadership abilities, employment and achievements. Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record, receive an endorsement from a high school official, write an essay and earn qualified SAT or ACT scores.

Finalists will be named in February. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships.

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