University High School in Irvine has 26 semifinalists--the most in the state--in the National Merit Scholarship program.
More than 15,000 students nationwide, including 160 in Orange County, were named last week as semifinalists in the competition sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. of Evanston, Ill. They represent the top 0.5% of a state's seniors, based on their performance on a standardized test.
University had twice as many semifinalists as Santa Ana's Foothill High, which had the second-highest total in the county.
Other schools with more than two semifinalists each were Fountain Valley (seven semifinalists); Brea-Olinda and Servite (six); Marina and Westminster (five); Corona del Mar, Dana Hills, Edison, Laguna Hills, Orange, Valencia and La Quinta (four); El Dorado, El Modena, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Loara, Los Alamitos, Mater Dei, Tustin and Villa Park (three).
San Francisco's Lowell High and the Harvard School in North Hollywood had 25 semifinalists each. The top producing school of semifinalists in the nation is Hunter College High in New York City with 82.