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Sept. 15, 2016

Two Missouri Academy students named National Merit semifinalists

Two students attending Northwest Missouri State University’s Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing are among the semifinalists named in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The Missouri Academy students – Gordon Fang of Blue Springs, Missouri, and Randall Porter of Bowling Green, Missouri – made the list of 16,000 academically talented high school seniors. The students now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.

“Gordon Fang and Randall Porter represent all that is good about the Missouri Academy, and they deserve every bit of kudos coming their way,” Missouri Academy Dean Dr. Cleo Samudzi said. “They are quite deserving of the honor of being semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition.”

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.

The non-profit National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by about 420 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist 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.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. 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.

For more information about the competition, please visit NMSC’s website at


About the Missouri Academy

Founded at Northwest in 2000, the Missouri Academy replaces the junior and senior years of high school for its students. Missouri Academy students enroll in the same classes as Northwest’s traditional students and are held to the same academic expectations while living, socializing and studying in a learning community of peers. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates earn a high school diploma and associate of science degree. For more information about the Missouri Academy, visit

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468