McKinney, Texas –  Today, McKinney ISD high school juniors have joined the ranks of nearly a million and a half students from across the country who sat down to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) and began the journey that, for some, will lead to distinguished academic titles and/or scholarships.

For the seniors of 2015–2016 who began the process last fall when they took the PSAT/NMSQT, that journey is nearing completion. Last month, officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of 30 McKinney ISD seniors whose outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT earned Commended Scholar recognition and two who have been named Semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program. In addition, the College Board has recognized nine McKinney ISD students in the National Hispanic Recognition program for their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT.

“To earn recognition by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and the College Board is one of the great academic achievements a student can attain during his or her high school years,” said Marita Cleaver, McKinney ISD Coordinator of Advanced Academics. “Such recognition honors those students who focus on College Readiness and commit their efforts and dedication to this goal on their path to success in college and life. It equally honors all those who have provided a solid foundation of educational growth throughout these students’ academic careers. We are proud and humbled to have such hard working and dedicated students in MISD, and we congratulate them and their families as they celebrate these outstanding academic achievements.”

Commended Scholars
More than two-thirds (about 34,000) of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. These exceptional students represent the top two percent of the 1.5 million entrants who took the PSAT/NMSQT in 2014. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

McKinney ISD National Merit Commended Scholars

Jack Arbuckle
Noah Carpenter
Joshua Casey
Sarah Casey
Aric Eggers
Anne Hedrick
John Heger
Anthony Liu
Grace Matthews
Bradley Olbrey
Sarah Price
John Schuster
Yana Semkova
Andrew Trewin
Joseph Vilches
Zijian Wang
Christopher Willardson
Ryan Bagby
Michael Fox
Samuel Hyden
Isabel Kilroy
Laney Baker
Patrick Bell
Ellie Erhart
Joseph Faubian
Daniel Godoy
Kyle Kung
Collin Pratt
Ashley Roesler
Ty Sawka

National Merit Semifinalists
National Merit Scholarship Corporation has named approximately 16,000 students as National Merit Semifinalists. These students have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

McKinney ISD National Merit Semifinalists

Sabrina Gagnon
Emma Rappold

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance
to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

National Hispanic Recognition Program
Each year, the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) identifies academically talented Hispanic/Latino high school students. This year, about 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from among the approximately 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT in 2014 have received recognition. Although there is no financial award tied to recognition, NHRP makes student information available to colleges and universities that are interested in communicating with academically talented Hispanic/Latino students.

McKinney ISD National Hispanic Recognition Honorees

Isamar Ramirez
Isabel Robinson
Conner Bell
Victoria Vilches
Christopher Willardson
Diego Ley
Jorge Vargas
Daniel Godoy
Anthony Guardia

National Merit Scholarship Corporation
NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was
established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

The College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.

Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.

Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.

Source: National Merit Scholarship Corporation, College Board

McKinney Independent School District Press Release