Celia Acosta, a senior at Hood River Valley High School, has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Of the 16,000 semifinalists announced on Sept. 11, Acosta is the only one within the Hood River County School District.
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Celia Acosta

She serves as recorder for the HRVHS GirlUp Chapter, which raises funds and does education on empowering young women.
Acosta also runs cross country and competes in Nordic skiing, plays the piano, and hopes to attend Tulane University in New Orleans.
Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools across the country entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants, according to a National Merit Scholarship Corporation press release, and the nationwide pool of semifinalists includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
To become a finalist, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application that includes information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received, according to the press release. Finalists will be notified in February 2020, and scholarship winners will be announced between April and July.
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2020: National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, that will be awarded on a state-representational basis; corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria; and college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
From the 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, according to the press release; of those, approximately half will win a National Merit Scholarship.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by the corporation with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share their goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence, according to a press release.
More than 345,000 students have been designated Merit Scholars since the program’s inception.
Merit Scholar designees 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, said the press release.

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