Four Saint Stephen’s seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship program: Alex Siegal, Vanessa Yan, Mary Ann Placheril and Emma Jones. The group is among 16,000 semifinalists nationally. Finalists will be named in the spring for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $33-million. The process of becoming a semifinalist begins during the junior year of high school when students take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Those named semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state — fewer than one-percent of all U.S. high school seniors. About 90-percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of those will win a National Merit Scholarship. Since 2005, SSES has had 33 finalists.