Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Murray Marx has been named a semifinalist in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

As a semifinalist, Marx has an opportunity to continue in the competition for nearly 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million, that will be offered next spring.

Marx, 17, also is taking classes at Ohio State University, having completed all the Advanced Placement science classes that Lincoln has to offer. Marx said he's taking chemistry, microbiology and English classes at OSU.

He said he has known his preliminary SAT score for a while, so he expected to do well in the scholarship program.

"It's thanks to the wonderful teachers at Gahanna Lincoln that I've done so well," Marx said. "I've always worked extremely hard in academics. I study a lot for tests."

More than 1.6 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, providing information about the semifinalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

Marx, the son of Matthew and Leslie Marx, volunteers every Saturday for four hours at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

"We assist the nurses in helping stock hospital rooms and discharge patients," Marx said. "This summer I did a program at (Nationwide) Children's (Hospital). We did our own research projects for a disease we chose."

Marx said he also volunteers with Wexner Service Corps., a year-long Jewish service-learning program for high school juniors and seniors.

"We do a lot of gardening," Marx said. "We went to Pittsburgh two years ago and made a community garden and demolished an abandoned house."

He's also a member of Lincoln High School's National Honor Society.

Marx said he plans to become a physician. He intends to pursue pre-medicine at a college or university to be determined.

"We are all very proud of Murray and his recognition as a National Merit Semifinalist," said Jessica Slocum, principal at Lincoln High School. "It is always exciting to see students excel academically, reach their goals and be recognized for their commitment to academic excellence."

Slocum said Marx represents his school well in and outside of the classroom, and has been a pillar of academic excellence in the school community.

More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced between April and July.