Four Westerville South High School seniors have earned honors as National Merit Scholarship competition semifinalists.

Four Westerville South High School seniors have earned honors as National Merit Scholarship competition semifinalists.

Morgan Oates, Melanie Raphael, Julianne Shamblin and Joshua Tee were among the approximately 16,000 top scorers nationwide on the PSAT/NMSQT administered in 2011, qualifying them as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition.

About 1.5 million juniors took the test across the country last year.

Oates is the daughter of Jody and Margie Oates.

At school, she is a member of technical theater, Drama Club board, National Honor Society and band and serves as a student auditorium manager.

Oates volunteers as a cat caretaker at the Citizens for Humane Action Animal Shelter, a counselor in training at a summer camp in South Carolina and on President Barack Obama's re-election campaign in central Ohio.

Oates also led a project to build a greenhouse out of recycled materials at Walnut Springs Middle School.

She plays the flute and piano and plans to study linguistics in college.

Raphael is the daughter of John and Christine Raphael.

She's involved in South's theater program, In the Know and National Honor Society, and works in the school auditorium. She also volunteers as a counselor in training at Camp Wyandot during the summer.

Raphael plans to become a biologist, engineer or a physicist.

Shamblin is the daughter of Lee and Christine Shamblin.

She is active in South's drama club and chamber orchestra, and she volunteers as a reader at her church and has participated in mission work through her youth group.

Shamblin said she plans to attend Ohio State, the University of Cincinnati or another university with a strong exploratory studies program to help her determine what career she would like to pursue.

Tee is the son of Daphne and Adam Tee.

He is involved in swimming and volunteers with the Young Conservatives.

Tee plans to go to college when he graduates next year, but he is unsure of where he will go or what he will study.

The four finalists are eligible to submit applications detailing their academic achievements, extracurricular and volunteer activities, leadership skills and any honors or awards they've received.

From there, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. will select 15,000 competition finalists in February before awarding $32 million in scholarships to 8,300 students next spring.