A smart dozen: 12 seniors named National Merit semifinalists

October 8, 2019

HOUSTON — 12 high school seniors in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston were named semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship program, based on scores on last year’s Preliminary SAT college-entrance tests. As semifinalists, these teens have the chance to compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million offered next spring.

The students recognized are Isabel Buchwald from Incarnate Word Academy; Harrison Held and Grant McCoy from St. Thomas High School; Lilia Chaouch, Maya Jaaskelainen, Ana Jimenez and Ella Wisdom of St. Agnes Academy; and Michael Artlip, Benjamin Camacho, Alexander Carlson, Robert Condron and Nathaniel Fernandes from Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.

These students are among a select 16,000 students from across the country. More than 90% are expected to be named finalists, and roughly half will be earn scholarships. Of the 1.5 million teens in 21,000 high schools who took the preliminary SAT exam in 2018 across the U.S., these students are in the 1% of the highest scorers.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. This includes submitting a detailed scholarship application with information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership capabilities, and honors and awards received. Finalists will be named in February 2020.