Six more HISD students win National Merit College-Sponsored Scholarships

Six more Houston Independent School District students were selected this week to win National Merit scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities, bringing the total number of HISD winners up to 23 this year.

The students — Afton Widdershins from Bellaire High School; Ariel Hayes, David Lee, and Camille Potts from Carnegie Vanguard High School; and Sloan Lalinde-Barnes and Jessica Rollinson from DeBakey High School for Health Professions — received college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships from the College of Wooster, University of Houston, University of Southern California, Texas A&M University and Trinity University.

The scholarships provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study. Many post-secondary institutions also award additional scholarships to students who are recognized as National Merit scholars.

The National Merit Scholarship Program rewards academically talented U.S. high school students who score well on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) with free money for college. Scholarships are provided to National Merit Finalists who have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for college success.

This year, 183 higher education institutions are underwriting scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Program. The college-sponsored scholarship winners are among about 7,600 high school seniors receiving more than $32 million in National Merit Scholarships this year.

Earlier this spring, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards and National Merit Scholarships. In all, eight HISD students were awarded National Merit Scholarships, two won National Merit corporate-sponsored scholarships, and 13 received National Merit college-sponsored scholarships (including the six announced in this article). A list of all 23 students who have received National Merit Scholarships this year is below.

National Merit Scholarship Winners

Bellaire High School

  • Tianxiu Chen
  • Marina T. Finley

Carnegie Vanguard High School

  • Brett J. Gu

DeBakey High School for Health Professions

  • Xiaoyi Dou
  • Zachary A. Kortum
  • Teresa A. Lee
  • Poornima L. Tamma

High School for the Performing & Visual Arts

  • Claudia Isabel Heymach

National Merit College-Sponsored Scholarship Winners

Bellaire High School

  • Afton H. Widdershins, College of Wooster

 Carnegie Vanguard High School

  • Ariel Katharine Anne Hayes, Texas A&M University
  • Kiran Keneally, University of Houston
  • David P. Lee, University of Southern California
  • Camille H. Potts, Trinity University

 Challenge Early College High School

  • Peter G. Marks, Texas A&M University

DeBakey High School for Health Professions

  • Sloan A. Lalinde-Barnes, University of Houston
  • Praneeth V. Kambhampati, University of Houston
  • Jessica L. Rollinson, Texas A&M University
  • Rachel M. Shenoi, University of Houston
  • Rishi R. Wagle, University of Houston

Lamar High School

  • William S. Coulter II, University of Oklahoma
  • Zachary E. Nathan, University of Tulsa

National Merit Corporate-Sponsored Scholarship Winners

Bellaire High School

  • Sophia Cen, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Carnegie Vanguard High School

  • Henry Hoang, Lockheed Martin Corporation Foundation