WESTPORT — National Merit Scholarship semifinalist is a distinction waves of Staples High School seniors have familiarized themselves with, and the class of 2017 continues to etch the title into its lexicon.

Ten Staples seniors have been selected as National Merit semifinalists. Out of an estimated 3.5 million students expected to graduate high school this year, only 16,000 earn the designation of semifinalist. The selected Westport seniors will vie for the 7,500 National Merit Scholarships totaling $33 million.

JiSu Ahn, Isabelle Amlicke, Alexander Ialeggio, Nicole Kiker, Lindsey Marks, Brendan Massoud, Grace McGinley, Ulyana Piterbarg, Tia Pogue and Phoebe Spear are the select few who did well enough on the Preliminary SAT in order to be recognized.

New Staples Principal James D’Amico was pleased with his students’ achievement.

“I am extraordinarily proud of these students, not only because of the academic talents, but because each of them is a good citizen of Staples, well-rounded and talented in multiple areas,” D’Amico said. “This is a wonderful individual achievement for these students and demonstrative of the diversity of talents at Staples High School.”

In February, the 15,000 finalists will be notified by mail of their achievement.

In order to become a finalist, students have to submit SAT scores that confirm the earlier PSAT performance, show a record of consistently high academic performance and be endorsed and recommended by a high school official. They must also submit an application that includes a transcript of their high school courses and grades, a list of extracurricular and volunteer activities and a self-descriptive essay.