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Eleven HCS Seniors Named 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists

September 15, 2023

Source: National Merit Scholarship Corporation

(Hoover, AL) - National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) officials have announced the names of 11 exceptional high school seniors from the Hoover City Schools District selected as Semifinalists in the prestigious 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. 

The District’s 11 high-achieving students, named 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists, are four (4) students from Hoover High School and seven (7) students from Spain Park High School, who have earned a well-deserved place among the nation's brightest minds. These academically talented students now have the opportunity to compete for one of the 2,500 National Merit scholarships worth $2,500 each, which will be awarded in the spring of 2024. Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95% of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Hoover High Semifinalists:

Stephen McCollum

Isaac McCollum

Jakub Hel

Benjamin Smith


Spain Park High Semifinalists:

Anna Parks

Foster Thompson

Andrew Phillips

Dylan Morgan

Mason Waldron

Arhum Pabani 

Parker Chase


Jennifer Hogan, Hoover High School’s principal, said, “This achievement is a testament to our students' unwavering dedication and intellectual rigor. It reflects the outstanding support of our educators and the collaborative spirit within our school community. We are exceptionally proud of our four Semifinalists and eagerly anticipate their continued success."

Spain Park High School’s Principal, Dr. Amanda Esslinger, said, "Our seven students recognized as National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists embody the pursuit of excellence at the core of Spain Park High School's mission. Their remarkable achievements are a testament to their dedication and resilience in pursuing academic excellence."

To progress to the Finalist stage and stand a chance to earn a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must meet specific requirements, including maintaining an exemplary academic record, securing an endorsement and recommendation from a high school official, submitting a comprehensive scholarship application, writing an essay, and achieving SAT or ACT scores that reaffirm their performance on the qualifying test.

These eleven Semifinalists from HCS represent the highest-scoring students in the nation, as they are part of an elite group comprising less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number of Semifinalists in each state is proportionate to the state's percentage of graduating seniors nationwide.

In February, more than 15,000 of the Semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and National Merit Scholarship winners for 2024 will be exclusively chosen from this pool of Finalists.

Merit Scholar designees are selected based on their demonstrated skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The National Merit Scholarships 2024 winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases, beginning in April and concluding in July. They will join the ranks of nearly 375,000 other exceptional young individuals who have earned the coveted Merit Scholar title.

HCS leaders congratulate these eleven outstanding students for their remarkable achievement in becoming National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists. Their dedication to academic excellence is a source of pride for our schools, families, and the entire community.

NMSC was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. NMSC underwrites scholarships with its funds and by approximately 320 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s academic champions. Please visit the NMSC website for more information about the National Merit Scholarship Program.