Seven district students earn National Merit Semifinalist distinction
Seven district students earn National Merit Semifinalist distinction
Posted on 09/23/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Seven district students earn National Merit Semifinalist distinction

National Merit Semifinalists from Northwest ISD

The National Merit Scholarship Program has named seven Northwest ISD students – four from Byron Nelson High School, and three from Northwest High School – as National Merit Semifinalists, placing them among the top-scoring PSAT-takers in the nation.

From Byron Nelson, Emma Cooley, Rebecca Croucher, Chet Graswich and Maddie Otterson each earned National Merit Semifinalist distinction, as did Northwest’s Aiden Devlin, Kaly Phan and Oliver Ponder. Each of the seven earned the honor by scoring among the 1 percent of students in the United States who took the PSAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The program, one of the most rigorous in the nation, annually honors the 16,000 students with the best test scores as National Merit Semifinalists out of the 1.6 million high school students who take one of the qualifying tests during their junior year.

Dr. Logan Faris, Northwest ISD executive director of secondary education, said this year’s students earning National Merit Semifinalist distinction deserve admiration for their educational commitment.

“We’re always thrilled when students go above and beyond academically, and having a big group receiving National Merit Semifinalist distinction shows that we have many students who are high-achievers,” he said. “They all represent their schools with excellence, and they are fantastic role models for fellow students – we are tremendously proud of them.”

All the semifinalists said they are still researching colleges and submitting applications, applying to some of the top-ranked universities in the nation.

From Byron Nelson, Emma Cooley said she plans to study engineering in college. She is a member of orchestra, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, International Thespian Society and the UIL computer science team. Rebecca Croucher said she plans to major in archeology and German. She is a member of orchestra, National Honor Society, German Honor Society and the UIL social studies team. Chet Graswich, enrolled in the Biomedical Sciences Academy, plans to study biochemistry in college. He is a member of National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society also competing on the UIL social studies and number sense teams. Maddie Otterson said she plans to major in neuroscience in college; she is a member of the school orchestra.

Notably, this marks the seventh consecutive year at least one Byron Nelson student has earned National Merit Semifinalist distinction.

From Northwest, Aiden Devlin, enrolled in the STEM Academy, plans to study aerospace engineering in college. He is a member of orchestra and National Technical Honor Society while competing for the UIL math, number sense and science teams. Oliver Ponder plans to study computer science in college. He is a member of orchestra and National Technical Honor Society while also competing for the UIL math, number sense and science teams. Kaly Phan, enrolled in the Creative Media Production Academy, plans to study broadcast journalism in college. She is a member of National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, NHSTV and the CTE Ambassador program. Kaly also competes for the varsity swim team as well as the UIL math, number sense and social studies teams.

The National Merit Scholarship program will next determine which students will receive the distinction of finalist based on the academic performance throughout the entirety of their high school careers as well as the difficulty of courses taken and SAT scores. It will choose winners from the pool of finalists based on all previous criteria as well as each finalist’s essay and his or her involvement in activities and leadership roles.

Finalists will be notified in February of their status, with winners from that pool informed of their $2,500 scholarships from March to June.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NATIONAL MERIT
To learn more about the National Merit Scholarship Program, visit its official website by clicking here.