Cardinal Mooney High School senior Gianna Parella has been named a semifinalist by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Gianna, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Greg Parella of Canfield, is one of 16,000 students nationally who have been selected to compete for 8,300 Merit Scholarship Awards valued at more than $32 million that will be awarded next spring. Semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. Ninety percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarships, earning the Merit Scholar title.
Gianna is a member of the school's girls tennis, varsity swimming and speech and debate teams. She serves on Student Council, is a Link Crew leader and peer tutor. In addition, Gianna's active in the school's Service Club. She plans to major in chemical engineering and to pursue a career in the energy sector. While her college plans are indefinite, Gianna is currently considering enrolling at the University of Notre Dame or M.I.T.
More than 1.5 million students in over 22,000 U.S. high schools entered the 2013Merit Program competition when they were juniors by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test which served as the initial screening of program entrants. Semifinalists are the highest scoring entrants and represent less than one percent of the state's seniors.
The next step for semifinalists is to fulfill requirements to advance to finalist standing, a prerequisite to consideration for a Merit Scholarship Award. To advance to finalist status, semifinalists must have an outstanding high school academic record, be recommended by their high school principal, and submit SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance.