VILONIA — Officials with the Vilonia School District have been notified that senior Jordan Heykoop has been selected as a National Merit Finalist for 2012, said assistant principal Ron Simmons, Friday, at the last pep rally of the year.

In 2011, according to Simmons, about 1.5 million students in 22,000 high schools in the United States entered the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking a qualifying test. From that field of 1.5 million, only 16,000 semifinalists were chosen — which represents less than one-percent of all high school seniors. To become a finalist, the semi-finalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the semi-finalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities and honors and awards received.

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.