56 HISD students named National Merit semifinalists

Fifty-six students from six Houston ISD high schools are semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

The students, who attend Bellaire HS, Carnegie Vanguard HS, Challenge Early College HS, DeBakey HS, The High School for Performing and Visual Arts, and Lamar HS, are eligible to receive part of the $33 million pot of scholarships that will be awarded in the spring.  There are nearly 16,000 semifinalists nationwide, and about 7,600 will receive scholarships. More than 22,000 students applied by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

In order to become one of the estimated 15,000 finalists, students will submit a detailed scholarship application that includes their academic record, participation in school or community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors or awards they have received.  They will also need to be recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn an SAT score that confirms their performance on the PSAT.

Students will be notified in February if they have been selected as a finalist.

Houston ISD semifinalists include:

Bellaire High School
Sophia Cen
Anastasia Chan
Tianxiu Chen
Sue Davis
Marina Finley
Alessandra Gest
Richard Goldman
Hannah Lu
Kenneth Zhu
Helen Lu
Akash Shukla
Megan Siemann
Alexander Smith
Kevin Wang
Kurt Warren
Afton Widdershins
Martin Williams


Carnegie Vanguard High School
Benjamin Brenner
Connor Burwell
Albert Chang
June Chee
Max Dietrich
Juliana Dunn
Mitchell Gorman
Brett Gu
Ariel Hayes
Henry Hoang
Kiran Keneally
David Lee
Camille Potts


Challenge Early College High School
Peter Marks


DeBakey High School
Reniba Babu
Tran Dang
Xiaoyi Dou
Christina Guo
Jeffrey Ha
Praneeth Kambhampati
Zachary Kortum
Sloan Lalinda-Barnes
Teresa Lee
Gerlin Leu
Christin Lu
Simantini Mitra-Behura
Newsha Nikzad
Rutvik Patel
Freya Preimesberger
Jessica Rollinson
Rachel Shenoi
Poornima Tamma
Rishi Wagle
Samuel Zhu


The High School for Performing and Visual Arts
Jakob Helpinstill
Claudia Heymach
Jeremiah Pratt
Lamar High School
William Coulter
Gavin Martin
Zachary Nathan