These 20 Coast students are semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program

More than 1.5 million high school students took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMQT) in 2019 and today the 16,000 national semi finalists were named.

Twenty high school students in South Mississippi were among the highest scorers in the state on the PSAT test to become a semifinalist in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Ninety percent of the semifinalists are expected to complete the process and qualify for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth $31 million.

The local students from 10 Coast high schools are:

Biloxi High School

William Dixon

Mikayla Herndon

D’Iberville High School

Michael Steil

Gautier High School

Fernando Arellano

Gulfport High School

Brian Alston

Sherry Dymond

Weston Signs

Harrison Central High School

Alyssa Stoner

Jeremy Wright

Chase Yano

Long Beach High School

Katie Baker

Ocean Springs High School

Isabella Furr

Kaylee Goodwin

Kaekoa Siangco

Pass Christian High School

Jimmy Hoang

Emma Palmer

Yash Patel

St. Stanislaus, Bay St. Louis

Houston Holman

Brennan Toepfer

Stone County High School, Wiggins

Leanna Breland

The non-profit company that administers the National Merit Scholarship Program said the PSAT honors students and encourages the pursuit of academic excellence, and does not measure the quality of a school system.

Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.