The National Merit Scholarship Corporation included a Richmond Hill student among the names of the first group of winners in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Kevin Zhu, a Richmond Hill High School senior, was among more than 1,000 distinguished high school seniors who have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations.
Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.
Zhu, who has said he is interested in a career in biomedical engineering, was sponsored by Gulf Stream/Rolls Royce.
Most of the awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year.
More than 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screening of program entrants. In September, 16,000 semifinalists were designated. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.
To be considered, semifinalists had to fulfill requirements to advance to finalist. Each semifinalist was asked to complete an application. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the semifinalist group, 15,000 met finalist requirements.
By the conclusion of the 2016 competition, about 7,500 finalists will have been selected to receive scholarships totaling about $33 million.
Rolls-Royce, the world leader in business jet engines, established the Gulfstream/Rolls-Royce Annual Scholarship to acknowledge and support the educational aspirations and talent of the children of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation employees. Each year, Rolls-Royce North America companies donate nearly $1 million to philanthropic causes and efforts in North America.