The School Zone: News

13 current seniors earn annual National Hispanic Recognition Program honors; separate national awards include African-American and Indigenous Recognitions for two seniors

Thirty-one local high school seniors including one recent district graduate have been named either as National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists or as recipients of three related national awards.

Based on annual College Board rankings, these students stand among the best in their senior class at the region, state and national level.

Many of these student honorees will be recognized on Monday, Oct. 19, during a socially distanced, regular meeting of the SBISD Board of Trustees.

Earlier this fall, 15 students from Memorial and Stratford high schools and one Westchester Academy for International Studies senior were named as National Merit Semifinalists.

Memorial High School

Memorial High has 11 current seniors receiving this national-level award. Those recognized from this high school include Lauren ChaffinCarson FosterYoung HeWilliam KoortSarah LiJohn Moldvaer-LeyendeckerSookyung ParkThomas Pramudji, William RolphAmaan Siddiqui, and Julian Weaver.

Stratford High School

Stratford has four National Merit Semifinalists, including a former student who graduated as a junior and now attends Rice University. They include Ian BednarJoshua CooperChristian Deis and Emily Madaras.

Westchester Academy for International Studies

Westchester Academy for International Studies recognizes one National Merit Semifinalist, Leonard Seelig

Students become eligible for this national scholarship program as juniors when they sit to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). Each year, about 1.6 million juniors take this practice SAT test.

National Merit Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of the full high school graduating class in Texas and rank as the nation’s highest scoring test takers. In addition, these students may now qualify for National Merit Finalist scholarship awards, to be announced in  the spring of 2021, or other significant awards.

Hispanic, or Latinx, National Recognition Program

Meanwhile, 13 additional seniors have been named as finalists in the annual Hispanic, or Latinx, National Recognition Program. These award winners in the past were also known as National Hispanic Scholars.

Twelve seniors receiving this award attend Memorial High. They include Sofia AlvarezAntonio AmadorJacob BeardenIvan GarciaChanse HolubRyan LewisClaire McCordPatricio OrvananosAnthony PineraMariel Rached ErrasquinSophia Trifilio and Lucas Williams.

One additional Hispanic National Recognition Program award has been issued to Mirna Benavente, who attends YES Prep Northbrook High. 

To earn this honor, students must be at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino through family descent, attain a high performance level on the PSAT, and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher by the end of their junior year. Approximately 5,000 juniors across the United States earned this award annually in recent years.

National awards

Two Memorial High seniors have received separate national awards through the College Board.  They are Candor Miller, who earned a notable African-American Recognition through the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and Thomas Pramudji, who received Indigenous Recognition through the College Board’s affiliated Indigenous Education, Inc.

Commended Student Scholars

In separate but related College Board news, 39 district students have been named this year as Commended Student Scholars through the National Merit Scholarship program.

At Memorial High, 27 students earned this special recognition this year. They are Antonio AmadorPeter BakhtBennett BradfordHaoyu FanCarol GengBenjamin GentryChristos GeorgiadisElizabeth HilgertVarun KalappaKunyang LiPhillip LiouMallesh Maharana,Meah Matherne and William Moss.

Other Commended Students at Memorial High are Vanessa NunleyDrew SchachelKinsey ShineIan StinnefordIsabella TruongKingsley WallaceTristan WangChristopher Wilkinson,Lucas WilliamsAlexander YangJaden YiEmily Yu and Chenshuo Zhang.

Spring Woods High has one Commended Scholar this year, senior Jared Lee.

At Stratford High, 10 National Merit Commended Scholars were named. They include Alyssa BommerCarson DoddsEamonn FitzpatrickCarter HenckelAndrew HollandSophia JegiReese LeifJon NederveldHannah Ngo and Mark Perkins.

High school students who score in the top 3 to 4 percent of all PSAT assessment results qualify for recognition as Commended Scholars and join a selective group nationally.

For details on these and related student recognitions and scholarship programs, please visit the College Board website.