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EVANSTON, ILL. — More than 1,600 black American high-school seniors have been designated semifinalists in the 51st annual National Achievement Scholarship Program, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation has announced.

The scholastically talented young men and women now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 800 Achievement Scholarship awards worth about $2.5 million that will be offered next spring.

To advance to the finalist level, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the his or her academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

Local students named semifinalists include Phyllis Njoroge of Dracut High School.