Each fall, at testing locations across the country, some 1.6 million high school juniors take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT©) which functions as an initial screen of entrants in the National Merit Scholarship Program. 


Their performance on the exam can lead to academic recognition, college scholarships and, for the top 1 percent, the prestigious title of National Merit Scholar, an achievement that attracts interest from top universities. 


In September, officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of 33 McKinney ISD seniors whose results on the 2018 PSAT/NMSQT have earned them recognition as Commended Scholars and five who have earned the title of National Merit Semifinalist. In addition, the College Board announced the names of twelve MISD seniors who have earned distinction in the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP). 


Each level of commendation represents a remarkable academic achievement. 


“To earn recognition by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and the College Board is one of the great academic honors that a student can achieve during his or her high school years,” said Marita Cleaver, MISD coordinator of advanced academics. “This 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. 


“Furthermore, it 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,” said Cleaver.


National Merit Semifinalists

National Merit Scholarship Corporation has named approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented students have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered in the spring. 


To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. These remarkable students represent approximately the top 1 percent of the students who took the PSAT/NMSQT in 2018.


McKinney Boyd High School National Merit Semifinalists — Daniel Landrum, Jieun Lee, Katherine Long, Archan Patel


McKinney North High School National Merit Semifinalist — Helena Ramning 


National Merit Commended Scholars

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. Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score. 


Although Commended Scholars 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 Boyd High School Commended Scholars — Emaan Ahmed, Andrew Ball, Justin Chan, Natthapat Chumpirom, Drew Goodwin, Tanya Goyal, Nathan Kennedy, Emily Miller, Arya Patel, Nathaniel Pendy, Emma Phillips, Stephen Reynolds, Liam Schuck, Cameron Sigua, Isabella Smillie, Quinn Smith, Parker Zarbaugh


McKinney High School Commended Scholars — Andrew Carithers, Olivia Deegan, Caroline Deitch, Jered Hightower, Tim Jakobsen, Amanda Walker, Lucas Zimmer


McKinney North High School — Aurea Coral, Travis Corriveau, Taylor Hinkle, Austin Hinrichs, Kathryn Hise, Michael Roberts, Katherine Smith, Cade White, Layla Zonouzy


College Board National Hispanic Recognition Program

Each year, the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) recognizes about 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from among the approximately 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT. 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 Boyd High School NHRP Recipients —Carlos Fuentes, Daniela Galdos, Colin Kaeo, Samuel Mauceri


McKinney High School NHRP Recipients — Mark Baca, Jered Hightower, Jakob Shackleton, Lucas Zimmer


McKinney North High School NHRP Recipients — Zachary Garza, Taylor Hinkle, Pablo Ruiz, Phoebe Woods


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.


For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or smauldin@mckinneyisd.net.