WESTPORT — Ten Westport students have been recognized as semifinalists in the 65th National Merit Scholarship Program.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the semifinalists on Wednesday. Eight students were recognized from Staples High School and two at Pierrepont School. They will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

The semifinalists from Staples include: Justin M. Berg, Cordelia Chen, Nora B. Dockter, Samuel A . Laskin, Alexander J. Massoud. Harrison E. Sholler, Benjamin A. Spector, and Nathan E. Wang.

The semifinalists from Pierrepont are Riley S. Boksenbaum and Paz Meyers.

Semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, and include the highest-scoring entrants in each state according to NMSC. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. A detailed scholarship application, in which students provide information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

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

Of those who go on to finalist standing, about half will win a scholarship according to the program.

For more information about the competition, visit nationalmerit.org.