Ten seniors at Staples High School have been named finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship program.

The students are: Jake A. Atlas, Shelby E. Cataldo, Zachary N. Effman , Claudia Frances Landowne and Abigail G. Lustig.

Also, Nicholas D. Massoud, Ian Cole Palmer, Kelly W. Pogue, Megan R. Root and Everett W. Sussman.

Staples Principal John Dodig, in a press statement announcing the school's finalists, said, "Because I spend so many hours each week with our students, I know how talented and hard-working they are ... Some of the public, however, needs a metric to judge just how well-prepared are students are. The National Merit Scholarship program is one such a metric.

"Having 10 National Merit finalists is a visible sign that we have an outstanding student body," Dodig added. "This many students in one class reaching this level of success lets the world know how serious our students are about becoming well-educated and how dedicated our teaching staff is in helping them reach their potential."

The National Merit finalists now have a chance to earn one of 8,000 scholarships, together worth more than $35 million, according to a press release issued about honorees.

The winners of scholarships, selected from the more than 15,000 finalists, may be notified by as early as March, the group said.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in college studies, according to the release. They also must be recommended by their school's principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the earlier qualifying test performance.

As semifinalists, they submitted a detailed scholarship application, which included an essay and information about participation and leadership in school and community activities.