NICEVILLE — A Niceville High School student is among the first group of winners in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Julia L. Freeman is one of approximately 1,000 distinguished high school seniors across the U.S. who have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards, according to a press release from National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Freeman, whose probable career field will be in education, earned the National Merit National Distillers Distributors Foundation Scholarship. She was one of more than 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools who entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program during the previous school year.

Most awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $500 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000, the press release said.

Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

The scholarships are financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations.

Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for finalists who are children of their employees, residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors the sponsor wishes to encourage, the press release said.