Six Pickerington high school seniors this month were named semifinalists for National Merit scholarships.

Six Pickerington high school seniors this month were named semifinalists for National Merit scholarships.

Pickerington High School Central seniors Ryan Knight, Sanjeev Kolli, Michael Morris and Mayuran Ravindran, along with PHS North seniors Janelle Holmes and Kelly Turpin, have been selected as National Merit semifinalists in the 57th annual National Merit Scholarship program.

They now have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test — a test that serves as an initial screening of approximately 1.5-million entrants each year — and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.

Semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The National Merit Scholarship Corp. provides scholarship application materials to semifinalists through their high schools.

Knight, 17, is the son of Michael and April Knight. His favorite class is AP physics, and at Central, he is a member of National Honor Society, the mock trial team, In the Know and Science Olympiad.

Currently, Knight is considering attending Ohio State or Toledo universities, and he plans to study biomedical engineering.

“I was extremely excited to have received such a prestigious title as this, especially since my older brother, Justin, was considered for semifinalist status,” Knight said.

Kolli, 17, is the son of Srinivas and Susmitha Kolli. His favorite class is math and his school activities include varsity tennis, orchestra, Sunny Side Up Leadership, National Honor Society and “Ask Jeeves” Tutoring.

After high school, Kolli plans to study engineering. His list of potential schools includes the California Institute of Technology, Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, OSU, Princeton University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania.

“I was ecstatic and relieved that my hard work paid off,” Kolli said of his semifinalist selection. “It’s really special to receive such an honor with three of my best friends, Mayuran, Michael and Ryan.”

Morris is the son of James and Lida Morris. His favorite class is AP statistics and he is a member of the mock trial team, National Honor Society and orchestra.

Morris plans to attend Duke University, MIT or Yale after graduation. He intends to study biomedical engineering as a prelude to attending law or medical school.

“It is a huge honor to be considered for this prestigious scholarship,” Morris said. “The National Merit scholarship has an extensive list of distinguished alumni, and it is truly humbling to be considered for a place among this elite group.”

Ravindran, 17, is the son of Ravi and Mira Ravindran. He lists AP statistics as his favorite class. He is involved in marching band, tennis, chorale, Science Olympiad, In the Know, Spanish Club, National Honor Society and Sunny Side Up.

After graduation, Ravindran is considering getting degrees in biology and business before moving on to medical school. He currently is eyeing Harvard University, Miami University (Ohio), OSU, the University of Virginia and Yale.

“It was such a great feeling when I heard the news,” he said. “I was excited and honored to be named a National Merit semifinalist. I can’t wait to see what doors this will open for me in the future.”

Holmes is the 16-year-old daughter of Danny and Jacquelynne Holmes.

She currently is considering attending George Washington University, New York University or Southern Adventist University, where she’ll likely study archaeology, biology, environmental biology or “some mixture of the three.”

Upon being named a semifinalist, Holmes said the first thing she did was make a telephone call.

“I called my mom and told her,” she said. “I knew she’d be more excited than I was.”

Turpin was out of the country at press time and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Each of the semifinalists will go on to vie for a National Merit scholarship.

To be considered for a scholarship, semifinalists must advance to finalist standing by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each semifinalist.