Two Maui high school seniors named National Merit semifinalists

The Maui News

Two seniors, one each from Maui High School and Seabury Hall, have been named as semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Kaitlyn Takeno of Maui High and David K. Shiraki of Seabury Hall are among 16,000 semifinalists. They are in the running for about 7,500 National Merit scholarships worth more than $31 million. The scholarships will be offered in the spring.

Takeno and Shiraki are the only two Maui County students to achieve semifinalist distinction. Other Hawaii semifinalists were from schools on Oahu and Kona on Hawaii Island, along with two home-schooled students. Sixty-seven semifinalists are from Hawaii.

The semifinalists were among more than 1.6 million juniors last year in about 22,000 high schools that entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as initial screening of program entrants.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title, according to an announcement.