McKINNEY — Ten McKinney ISD high school seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), and one McKinney ISD Finalist has earned a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship. Additional scholarship awards are expected to be announced later this spring and in early summer.

Five students from McKinney Boyd High School have been named National Merit Finalists – Eamon Dowd (National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winner), Lawson Malnory, Logan Merkle, Jacob Rha and William Simpson. From McKinney High School, Stephanie Herrera, Katrina Ngo, Michael Robinson and Harrison Westgarth have earned recognition as Finalists, and McKinney North High School senior Rachael Couch has also been named a National Merit Finalist.

“To be selected as a National Merit Finalist is an amazing achievement that not only honors the student, but also recognizes all those involved who have provided a solid foundation of educational growth,” said Marita Cleaver, McKinney ISD Coordinator of Advanced Academics. “What a great honor for these hard working and dedicated students.”

These 10 McKinney ISD National Merit Finalists are eligible to apply for one or more of 8,300 Merit scholarships available through the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Approximately half of all Merit Finalists are selected as Merit Scholarship winners, earning the Merit Scholar title.


McKinney High School National Merit Finalists (from left) Michael Robinson, Katrina Ngo, Stephanie Herrera and Harrison Westgarth.


“To receive a scholarship from the National Merit Foundation and its affiliates is a well-deserved privilege and a hard-earned accomplishment that demands our respect.” said Cleaver.

Steps in the 2013 Competition

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 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 his or her 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 through high school, be endorsed and recommend by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Approximately 15,000 Semifinalists were chosen to advance to the Finalist level. All National Merit Scholarship winners are 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.


McKinney North High School National Merit Finalist Rachael Couch.


National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships are offered in 2013. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that are awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2013 join more than 291,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar Title.

Portions of this information were provided by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Specialist, at 469-302-4007 or


About McKinney ISD

One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the McKinney Independent School District currently enrolls more than 24,000 students in 20 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools, one alternative school and one early childhood education school. The mission of McKinney ISD, the champion for progressive learning throughout the diverse McKinney community, is to inspire and equip all students to explore, develop and express their unique potential as innovators, critical thinkers and collaborators through challenging, engaging and diverse learning experiences in vital partnership with the community. Visit the district's website at