The program is funded by about 420 companies and distributes three different kinds of scholarships

One Mountain Pointe High School senior and 15 Desert Vista High seniors have been named semifinalists for National Merit Scholarships.

They’ll now join about 16,000 other seniors across the country in a competition for some $33 million in scholarship money, according to a National Merit Scholarship Corp. release.

The 16 Ahwatukee seniors were among about 1.6 million juniors last year who took a qualifying test to get to the second round. To become finalists, they’ll be judged on their academic record, extracurricular and outside-of-school activities, leadership, employment and awards.

The corporation warned against comparing schools based on the number of semifinalists there are.

“Using numbers of semifinalists to compare high schools, educational systems, or states will result in erroneous conclusions,” it said, noting the scholarship program “honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

“The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system, or state,” it added.

The program is funded by about 420 companies and distributes three different kinds of scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to unspecified amounts from colleges and universities and from companies to children of employees or residents of communities where the firms are located.

Desert Visa semifinalists are: Mya G. Carrizosa, Jocelyn Y. Chen, Kyle R. Corrette, Hannah Fuchs, Brandon Jiang, Matthew D. Jobe, Bobae C. Johnson, Dylan L. Ketcham, Jaeyoung Kim, Neha Parvathala, Tyle Ruan, Kendall M. Schwartz, Alice L. Wong, Kai Yin and Sang Bo Yoon. Mica A. Stewart is the Mountain Pointe semifinalist.

A reception for the semifinalists will be held sometime in November at Desert Vista with Arizona State University President Michael Crown delivering an address.

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