The Westerville City School District has three students who have been named 2019 semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million, that will be awarded next spring.

The semifinalists include Westerville Central High School seniors Benjamin Giffin and Sarah Wolfe and Westerville South High School senior Rachel Slaybaugh.

"It's an honor to have been named a National Merit semifinalist," Giffin said.

He's currently a member of Westerville Central's cross country team and the National Honor Society.

"While currently focused on my academics, I have also been involved in other activities during high school such as Arts Alive, Science Olympiad and orchestra," he said. "At this time, I am actively searching for the right fit for college and plan to pursue a degree in a STEM field."

Wolfe said she's a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Spanish and board game clubs.

She hopes to attend Miami University to study zoology with a pre-veterinary path.

Wolfe has volunteered at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium the last two summers.

"Westerville Central is a really good school and prepared me pretty well," she said.

Slaybaugh said she's in the International Baccalaureate diploma program.

She's also a drum major for the marching band and plays cello in the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Slaybaugh also is involved in the National Honor Society and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Club at school.

She said she would like to study astrophysics after high school.

She's currently considering the University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wellesley College, Carnegie Mellon University and Ohio State University.

"I think it's pretty exciting to be a semifinalist, because National Merit is a widely-recognized program and if I become a finalist, I might be able to earn a scholarship for college," Slaybaugh said.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 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 less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

The National Merit Scholarship Corp. was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla