TWIN FALLS — Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of about 16,000 semifinalists in its 63rd annual scholarship program. Six Magic Valley students will continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million, offered in the spring.

Local high school seniors chosen are: Brandon T. Frame of Gooding High School; Mason G. Johnson of Wood River High School; Michael B. Bean of Hansen High School; Kylie Y. Hansen, Cannon L. Leavitt and Trey J. Willes of Twin Falls High School.

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After taking a 2016 preliminary test, less than 1 percent of U.S. 12th-graders qualified. The number of Idaho semifinalists is proportional to the state’s percentage of total national graduating seniors.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must submit a detailed scholarship application showing an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be recommended and endorsed by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance. Merit Scholar winners are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.

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