Emili Elkins and Ben Partney pose for photo

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. -- Two Mountain Home High School Seniors have qualified as 2022 National Merit Semifinalists. Emili Elkins, daughter of Dr. Louis and Terrie Elkins, and Ben Partney, son of Andy and Marsha Partney, received their qualification announcements on Wednesday. 

Elkins and Partney are two of approximately 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists across the country. They qualified for this distinction through their scores as juniors on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. According to a press release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, this year’s Semifinalists make up less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors. 

To become Finalists, the Semifinalists and a high school official will submit detailed scholarship applications that highlight their academic records, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT and ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. 

Approximately 15,000 students become finalists and will be notified of this distinction in February. A host of scholarship opportunities -- private and institutional -- become available to Finalists. 

Elkins and Partney were recognized before the Mountain Home Public Schools Board of Education on Thursday. Mountain Home High School principal Mary Beth Russell said she met both students as fifth graders, and she knew then that they were both special individuals with bright futures ahead of them. “We are so proud of Emili and Ben,” she said on behalf of the faculty and staff at the high school. “They have worked extremely hard, and we are honored to have them represent MHHS in the National Merit competition.”