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Northeast Times | November 29, 2021

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KISD Students Earn National Merit Semifinalist Distinction

KISD Students Earn National Merit Semifinalist Distinction

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has released the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists for the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program, including five Keller ISD students.

Keller ISD students receiving this prestigious National Merit Semifinalists honor include:

  • Sajid Ahsan – Fossil Ridge High School
  • Christopher Kung – Central High School
  • Thomas Portier – Keller High School
  • Douglas Riggs – Keller High School
  • David Torkington – Central High School

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 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.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn sat scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Finalists will be announced in February 2016 and National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in March and concluding in June.

In addition to the five semifinalists, Keller ISD had 34 National Merit Commended Students. Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is typically below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states. 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.

Congratulations to our Commended Students:

  • Central High School – Alanna Ball, Gil Caley, Antonio Cenon, Benjamin Eaton, Evan Glazier, Ivan Hurtado, Ridge Koemel, Michael Lee, Grace Orton, Rahul Sagi
  • Fossil Ridge High School – Joshua Jordan, Wissam Mahouch, Garon Noureddine
  • Keller High School – Avery Burke, Katelyn Debacker, Sophia Frohberg, Rachel Halbert, Shelby Hillebrand, Emma Hinkley, Austin Horton, Taylor Liang, Max Liu, Joanne Mathew, Matthew Nichols, Emma Peavler, Carter Persyn, Nathan Rixe
  • Timber Creek High School – Colin Akins, Autumn Gallardo, Michel Hernandez, Christina Mai, James Paterson, Omar Vayani

For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, please visit