SHERIDAN — Sheridan High School student Josiah Richards has been designated as a National Merit Semifinalist.

Richards is among approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

About 1.5 million juniors in the U.S. entered the program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance.

Approximately 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level. In February 2020, they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.