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Philomath High School senior Rhiannon Gudge advanced as a finalist in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Gudge had been one of 16,000 semifinalists competing for some 7,500 National Merit scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered this spring. According to the organization, about half of the finalists will win a scholarship.

During her junior year, Gudge was among 1.6 million students from approximately 22,000 high schools that entered the program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants.

National Merit Scholarship winners are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.

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