Calallen High School senior Joshua Vernon has been named a semifinalist in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship program.

The 16,000 semifinalists in the 53rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program, comprised of U.S. high school seniors, have the opportunity to compete for 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards, worth $34 million, that will be offered in the spring.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Joshua, the son of David and Susanna Vernon, is a member of the National Honor Society, the Wildcat Marching Band, and the Taft 4-H. He is also a regional and state qualifier in UIL spelling and vocabulary, social studies, and ready writing. He was a member of the 2007 Academic Challenge championship team and is the captain of Calallen's 2008 team.