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Cibola seniors named semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship

Cibola High School

Qualified after testing well on preliminary SAT

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD) #70 announces two Cibola High School seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Corporation competition.

Chief Communications Officer with YUHSD #70 Eric Patten confirms the students, Zarrin Askari and Julia Whitson, are two of more than 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

“The last thing I expected after walking out of the PSAT exam room in January was qualifying as a National Merit semifinalist, which makes achieving the title feel all the more surprising and honorable,” Askari shares. “To earn the opportunity to compete for a spot as a finalist and for the scholarship is exciting and serves as a tribute to my teachers, counselor, and parents, who continue to encourage and push me to reach my academic ambitions.”

Patten adds that Askari and Whitson now have an opportunity to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered in Spring 2022.

"More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title," Patten says.

In order to be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, they must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.

“Being a semi-finalist feels pretty great,” Whitson expressed. “I'm excited to see hard work paying off, and I appreciate my family and the teachers who have supported me along the way.”

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Caleb J. Fernández

Upon earning his bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went straight to New York City where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography and art direction. Please reach out via email at if you’re interested in collaborating.


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