St. Mary's Academy senior and Portland resident Avery Thompson is among the approximately 1,600 black high school seniors named as semifinalists in the 2013 National Achievement Scholarship Program.

More than 160,000 high schoolers from across the country requested consideration for the program when they took a qualifying test. Semifinalists are designated within geographic areas and are the highest-scoring program entrants in the states that make up each region. About 80 percent of the students will continue in the competition for about 800 Achievement Scholarship awards worth more than $2.5 million being offered next spring.

"Avery Thompson is one of those dream students," said Patricia Barr, St. Mary's Academy principal.

Thompson helps freshmen transition to St. Mary's, helps lead a science mentorship program, and volunteers in the Beaverton Police Activities Summer Camp for disadvantaged youth.