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South St. Paul’s John Deneen named National Merit Semifinalist

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 — South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) is pleased to announce that John Deneen, SSP Secondary senior, has been named a 2020 National Merit Semifinalist. Deneen, who last year earned a perfect score of 36 on his ACT, is among an elite group students from across the country earning the Semifinalist distinction. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a not-for-profit organization that oversees the scholarship program, less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors qualify for the distinction. John Deneen

“John is an amazing student, but more importantly he is amazing person,” said Chuck Ochocki, SSP Secondary School principal. “He is kind, thoughtful and the type of person others want to be around. We are really lucky to have John at SSP Secondary.”

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. As a semifinalist, Deneen has the opportunity to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million dollars that will be offered next spring. 

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official 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® or ACT® scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test. An announcement of Finalists is expected in February, and National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in the spring of 2020.