Garland ISD students named Semifinalists in scholarship competitions

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Five Garland High School seniors have joined an elite group of students from across the country. Alayna Brooks, Anna Williamson, Meghan Shanks, Sidrah Shah, and Tamara Winter were named Semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit and National Achievement Scholarship Programs in September.

Three of only 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists, Shah, Shanks and Williamson represent less than one percent of all U.S. students who entered the competition. In 2011, approximately 1.5 million juniors took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. High scores earned Shah, Shanks and Williamson the opportunity to continue on for a chance to win one of 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million.

“If I had to point to one thing that makes me stand out from other high schoolers—especially when it comes to college—this title would be high on the list,” said Williamson. “I practiced and prepared for the PSAT a lot,” added Shah. “It’s nice to see a reward for my hard work.”

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Brooks and Winter also earned their National Achievement distinction through high scores on the PSAT/NMSQT. The National Achievement Scholarship Program recognizes academically promising black students, and Brooks and Winters are two of only 1,600 Semifinalists this year. They now have the opportunity to compete for one of 800 Achievement Scholarship awards worth more than $2.5 million.

“I’m really excited about this honor,” commented Brooks. “My sister also attended GHS and was named an Achievement Semifinalist. It makes me really proud to live up to her reputation.”

Scholarship consideration is based on a student’s application, which includes a record of high academic performance throughout high school, a letter of recommendation, an essay, and SAT scores comparable to the preliminary test. Finalists in the National Merit and National Achievement Programs will be announced at the beginning of 2013, and scholarships will be awarded next spring.

While not reaching Semifinalist standing, several other Garland ISD seniors also received recognition for their scores on the 2011 PSAT/NMSQT. The National Hispanic Recognition Program honors nearly 5,000 high-scoring Hispanic/Latino high school students each year. Approximately 34,000 seniors are named National Merit Commended Students and 3,100 students receive the distinction of National Achievement Outstanding Participants.

The following GISD seniors will be referred to universities for consideration in admission and financial assistance:

National Hispanic Scholars

Austin Garza, Garland High School

David Westra, South Garland High School

Diego Wright, Garland High School

Emely Villeda-Principe, North Garland High School

Jalen Quintana, Garland High School

Shelbi Parker, Sachse High School

Zachary Martinez, Garland High School

National Merit Commended Students

Alayna Brooks, Garland High School

Alexis White, Garland High School

Andrea Hamilton, Sachse High School

Callie Reaves, Sachse High School

Diego Wright, Garland High School

Jalen Quintana, Garland High School

John Cruz, Garland High School

John Shepard, North Garland High School

Jonathan Lawley, Garland High School

Joshua Bonar, Sachse High School

Kamin Bouguyon, Garland High School

Kristy Yang, Garland High School

Marshall McKee, Rowlett High School

Robert Secheli, Garland High School

Rory Stebner, Garland High School

Tracey Vuong, Garland High School

National Achievement Outstanding Participants

Braxston Miller, North Garland High School

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