Fifty-six seniors from six different HISD high schools are among the semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship program. These students will have the opportunity to compete for more than 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

“The National Merit Scholarship Program has a long tradition of excellence,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “We are extremely proud of these students being recognized nationally for their academic achievements. Their accomplishments are a testament to their dedication and hard work.”

To be considered for this scholarship program, about 1.5 million high school juniors took the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, about 16,000 students, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, the 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.

The selected semifinalist students are from the following HISD high schools: Bellaire High School, Carnegie Vanguard High School, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Lamar High School, and Westside High School.


The 2013 National Merit Scholarship Winners will be announced starting in April 2013.

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Bellaire High School

Andrew M. Alter Anneliese M. Gest

Lindsey D. Alter Sarah K. Godwin

Halla Bearden Carrie X. Jiang

Christina M. Breitbeil Vivek Kantamani

Kevin Chen Zara Khan

Blaine A. Cole Joseph C. Lau

Andrei V. Didenko Kirby J. Ledvina

Xinghua Dou Benjamin Liu

Molly G. Dyer Jacqueline H. Luo

Peter O. Elmers Aaron J. Mao

Katherine Fang Helen S. Mazella

Alexander Franshaw Alexander L. Mo

Garland R. Gay Adarsh Nednur

Willis Nguy Yulan L. Shih

Amanda K. Pevehouse Jun Ling Tao

Holly S. Reichert Edward D. Yun

Diana T. Ruan

Carnegie Vanguard High School

Kiera M. Brown William J. Larsen

Sam M. Dietrich Jonathan E. Vincent

Daniel Dreyfuss

DeBakey High School for Health Professions

Shannon E. Ahmed Tariq A. Patanam

Mohammad F. Bilal Tiffany Pham

Anchit R. Khanna Smruti Rath

Jeremiah M. Lee Kristen L. Thompson

Nathalie C. Meremikwu Serene R. Yu

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Josef M. Lamell Palmer L. Mills

Auburn H. Lee Jyron Walls

Amy Mattox

Lamar High School

Ashley Alcantara Angela Chang

Westside High School

Konstantinos K. Varvarezos