63 HISD students named National Merit semifinalists

Sixty-three seniors from six Houston Independent School District high schools qualified as semifinalists this week in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program. HISD had 56 semifinalists last year.

The HISD students are among 16,000 from across the country to earn the semifinalist designation, allowing them the opportunity to continue in the academic competition and vie for more than $32 million in scholarships that will be awarded in the spring.

They attend Bellaire, Carnegie Vanguard, and Lamar high schools, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Eastwood Academy, and the High School for the Performing & Visual Arts.

“I am so proud of our students, who are being recognized through this prestigious program as among the best and brightest in the country,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. “It’s wonderful to see more students qualifying for this program, and I expect the number to increase as we continue to focus on ensuring students are college and career ready.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program provides college scholarships to academically talented U.S. high school students who score well on the Preliminary SAT. Scholarships are provided to students from each state who have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for college success.

Roughly 1.5 million high school juniors from across the country took the 2014 PSAT, which serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Less than 1 percent  — or 16,000 students —were named semifinalists. About 15,000 students will advance to the finalist level, and only about 7,400 students will receive scholarships.

Final results will be announced next year between April and July.

HISD’s 2015-2016 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists are:

Bellaire High School
Tomas Arango
Dinah A. Baum
Jackson Chang
Yujie Chen
Alan W. Dai
Teresa J. Datta
Elijah M. Defferari
Amy Fan
James Fang
Yijun Hu
Chijindu M. Iheanacho
Lauren Li
Zilu Li
Jinjie Ling
Amber E. Liu
Edward M. Ni
Samhith Punukula
Grant T. Su
Christina Tan
Tiara P. Tanugraha
Suneal Vemuri
Jennifer Wang
Kevin C. Wang
Liana Wang
Benjamin E. Williams
Antony N. Yun

Carnegie Vanguard High School
Madeline E. Davet
Elizabeth O. Hartzell
Jessica M. Jin
Jonah R. Levine
Patrick A. Revilla
Samuel Ross
Annum Sadana
Nathanial K. Sandweiss
Victoria L. Songyang
Haedyn L. Standridge

DeBakey High School for Health Professions
Akshaya V. Annapragada
Bethany Berhanu
Siddharth C. Gorantla
Nishaa Iqbal
Thao T. Lam
Anushka Madhuvarshi
Ashley C. Meremikwu
Adrian Moga
Charles B. Neal
Natalie A. Pravinkumar
Swanand M. Rakhade
Sasha Raman
Kasra Sadeghi
Sachindra N. Sanam Venkata
Jason I. Thomas
Rohan S. Valleru
Brandon L. Wu
Oscar Wu
Asli Yilmaz
Gary Zhang

Eastwood Academy
Sana Shaikh

High School for the Performing & Visual Arts
David C. Alexander
Regina M. Cook
Kate A. Ham
Gabriela E. Tallin

Lamar High School
Philip Tan
John E. Vick