Nine HISD students have been named as semifinalists for the 2011 National Achievement Scholarship Program.

The students are among more than 1,600 African-American high school seniors nationwide.

The nine HISD students will have the opportunity to compete for approximately 800 scholarship awards worth more than $2.5 million.

“These students and their families should be commended for their hard work and dedication to academic excellence,” said HISD superintendent Dr. Terry B. Grier. “I am extremely proud of all the semifinalists and wish them luck in the next phase of the competition.”

More than 160,000 high school seniors across the U.S. requested consideration for the National Achievement Scholarship Program when they took their PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Semifinalists are designated within geographic regions and are the highest-scoring program entrants in the states that make up reach region.

About 80 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win an Achievement Scholarship award next year.

Three of the National Achievement Scholarship semifinalists are from HISD’s DeBakey High School for Health Professions. Those students are Jael Babb, Folasade Oba and Alyssa Savoie.

Carnegie Vanguard High School has two finalists. They are Dicarlos Davis and Elisabeth Massey.

Lamar High School also has two finalists, Marcus Mitchell and Michael Tekie.

The two remaining finalists are Ibeturu Alozie from Bellaire High School and Luke Jones from Challenge Early College High School.