Douglas High School senior named one of the finalists in National Merit Scholarship program |

Douglas High School senior named one of the finalists in National Merit Scholarship program

by Rachel Spacek
Sean Dunkelman
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

Douglas High School’s Sean D. Dunkelman is one of 16,000 high school seniors in the U.S. who have been named semi-finalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship program.

Dunkelman has the opportunity to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth over $32 million. The scholarships will be offered to the final winners next spring.

“It is exciting to be a part of such a big program and have the opportunity to compete for such a big scholarship,” said Dunkelman.

Dunkelman said he has always challenged himself in school, taking five Advanced Placement classes this year and 10 AP classes throughout his four year high school career.

“I knew academics were going to be my future,” said Dunkelman. “I knew academics were going to open doors for me.”

Dunkelman was entered into the program along with 1.6 million juniors by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Dunkelman and the other semi-finalists are the highest-scoring students on the PSAT and represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a nonprofit organization established in 1955. The organization’s scholarships are underwritten by its own funds and by funds of around 420 business organizations and higher education institutions.

According to a press release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, about 90 percent of the semi-finalists are expected to attain finalist standing and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

To become a finalist, Dunkelman and Douglas High School must submit a detailed scholarship application where they must provide information about his academic record, participation in school, community activities, leadership abilities, employment and previous honors or awards he has received.

Dunkelman said he plans on continuing with the process and hopes to become a Merit Scholar.

Dunkelman said he is still looking at colleges to attend in the fall, however he knows he wants to study engineering.