Maui High School's Steven K. Okada is a 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist.
The Maui High senior is the only semifinalist in Maui County, according to an announcement from the nonprofit National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Okada is one of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 58th annual program, where high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered in the spring.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.
An initial screening of the program entrants was through the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
Okada is captain of the Maui High Ocean Science Bowl team, which placed sixth in the nation in the National Ocean Science Bowl competition in April.
To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about the student's academic records, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors and awards achieved.
A semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.
About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.