By Mike Kruzman /

A local Howell student is a national finalist for an elite scholarship.

Howell High School senior Elisabeth Bonanni has been named a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program, according to a release from the school district. Nationwide, 1.5-million students entered the program, and Bonanni is one of only 15,000 that remain in contention. Eight-thousand will be awarded a scholarship based on the student’s abilities, skills, and accomplishments.

To make it this far, Bonanni had to complete a detailed application, write an essay, be endorsed by a school official, maintain high academic grades, and earn a scoe on the SAT that confirmed her performance on the PSAT.

Bonanni said she was very excited to learn she has advanced to the finals, and that this opened new doors for scholarships at her top choice schools. She is considering attending either Hope College or the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in nursing.

Howell High School principal Jason Schrock noted that only the highest achieving students in the country advance to this stage of the scholarship, and they are very proud of Bonanni and all that she has accomplished.