The following article was compiled from a press release.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced on Tuesday, May 11, the winners of the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Among the 2,500 winners from across the country is Wilton High School senior Connor Allen.

The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from approximately 16,000 outstanding finalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Each Merit Scholar designee will receive a $2,500 Scholarship.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2019 when over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools took the PSAT/NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named ‘semifinalists’ on a state representational basis. Only these approximately 17,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.

In Wilton, there were nine students named National Merit semifinalists:  Zachary E. Abud, Connor S. Allen, Jack W. Hall, Nathaniel S. Newcomer, Sophia Ramirez, Adarsh P. Varghese, Bronwyn N. Walsh, Nathan G. Wang, and Austin Xie.

From the national semifinalist group, some 16,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the ‘finalist’ level of the competition.

The WHS students named 2021 National Merit finalists were Zachary E. Abud, Connor S. Allen, Jack W. Hall, Nathaniel S. Newcomer, Sophia Ramirez, Adarsh P. Varghese, Nathan G. Wang and Austin Xie.

By the conclusion of the 2021 program, about 7,500 finalists nationwide will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of nearly $30 million in college scholarships.

National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools:  the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

In late April, WHS senior and fellow finalist Nathaniel Newcomer received one of about 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards. Newcomer was awarded the J. Walter Thompson Company Scholarship, which is given to a child of an employee of the company.

Later this summer (June 2 and July 12), the National Merit Scholarship corporation will release the names of another 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners. By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 7,500 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $30 million.