Fifty-four D.C. students are among the 15,000 students throughout the nation who qualified as semifinalists in the 1980 Merit Program, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation of Evanston, Ill.

Semifinalists who advance to finalist standing in the competition will be considered for about 4,300 Merit Scholarships to be awarded in the spring of 1980.

More than 1.1 million students enrolled in about 18,000 high schools entered the 1980 Merit Program by taking the 1978 qualifying test. The semifinalists are the highest scorers in each state, named in proportion to the state's percentage of the nation's high school graduating class.

The D.C. semifinalists are as follows:

Capitol Page School -- Don J. Dresser; Field School -- Kevin R. Hardwick; Georgetown Day School -- Richard Bancroft Dowd, Jean S. Fraser; Gerogetown Visitation Preparatory School -- Loret M. Ruppe.

Gonzaga College High School -- Michael J. Gibbs, Phillip A. Lacovara; Heights School -- Antonio C. Cancio; Immaculata Preparatory School -- Aileen M. May, Katherine E. May; Lycee Francais International -- Andrew E. Alston.

Maret School -- Christina R. Freeman; Model Secondary School for the Deaf -- Kendra L. Harness; National Cathedral School -- Julia L. Delong, Megan E. Hyde, Marylou Jordan, Somi Kim, Jessica L. Rich.

Sidwell Friends School -- Andrew H. Ajemian, David S. Barnes, Alejandra M. Bronfman, Adnan A. Burney, James G. Dix, Andrew C. Gould, David S. Hammond, Michael A. Heller, Peter B. Hutt, Campbell J. McGrath, Edward B. Meigs, Arshad A. Mohammed, Roshini M. Ponnamperuma, William R. Rice, Michael T. Rossides, Michael M. Shen, Toba E. Spitzer.

St. Alban's School -- John W. Butler, Peter M. Doll, John S. Gardner, Stephen E. Hancock, Christopher C. Meyerson, Michael S. Nelson, Yun W. Oh, David M. Uhlmann, Alexandros E. Washburn.

St Anselm's Abbey School -- Matthew Daly, David G. Grimm, Stephen B. Kinnaird, Thomas R. May, Charles G. Sullivan; Woodrow Wilson Senior High School -- Naftali Bendavidval, Daniel E. Bullock, Mark A. Deweaver, Marcia J. Franklin, Seth G. Sanders.