Josh Braun - national merit

Suwannee High senior Josh Braun, pictured with SHS Principal Ronnie Gray, has been named a semifinalist for a National Merit Scholarship.

LIVE OAK, Fla. — Using his size and strength, Josh Braun has racked up a number of accolades on the football field.

Using his brains to go with that brawn, the Suwannee High senior has been named a National Merit semifinalist.

“It’s certainly high,” Braun said of the honor, which his oldest brother, Trey, also earned. “It’s neat for me to earn the same goal as him. Now he won’t be able to lord it over me.”

In equaling those family bragging rights, Braun became one of about 16,000 high school students nationwide to advance to semifinalist standing in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Of the 1.5 million students who took last year’s preliminary SAT test to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program, Braun finished in the top 1 percent.

He’ll now have the chance to advance in the competition and become one of the 7,600 students to receive a National Merit Scholarship and the Merit Scholar title. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing.

Braun, who plans to graduate from Suwannee in December to head to the University of Georgia, where he is committed to play football, said his plan is to study business at UGA, likely starting in business management before majoring in international business.

To become a finalist, Braun and an SHS official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about his academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Semifinalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance

to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit

Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are

selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2020. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be

provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Merit Scholars will be announced between April and July and will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

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