Eliana Pigott, center, with her parents, Susan and Kelly Pigott

Abilene High School senior Eliana Pigott has been named a National Semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship competition, a feat accomplished by less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Pigott, daughter of Kelly and Susan Pigott, is among the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists who will continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships to be awarded next spring. Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of Semifinalist regularly attain Finalist standing, and about half of Finalists earn the Merit Scholar title.

Pigott’s older brother, Nathaniel, received the Merit award in 2016 while a student at AHS.

Winners are selected based on their performance during their junior year on the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. About 16,000 students out of the approximately 1.6 million who entered the program earn the rank of Semifinalist.

As a student, Pigott is a member of the AHS orchestra, was a regional runner-up last year as a member of the UIL Social Studies team, and served as a tutor in the AHS Writing Center. She also has worked as an intern at a local veterinarian’s office.

Pigott, who plans to study history, is considering Colorado College, Trinity University and Southwestern University to continue her education after graduation.