The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

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The top 15 students in the senior class receive special recognition at graduation on May 22 due to their hard work throughout high school. 
Graphic by Alex Whelchel via Canva
Profile: Top 15 seniors
Alex Whelchel, Managing Editor • May 13, 2024

Students to be recognized for National Merit, College Board awards

The National Merit Scholarship was established in 1964 in response to the Civil Rights Movement. Photo via National Merit website.

Ninety-six students who received National Merit or College Board National Recognition awards will be recognized after school on Friday. 

Starting in the auditorium, a ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. for everyone to attend. Following the ceremony, students will additionally be recognized on the football field before the game at 5:45 p.m.

Parents who wish to see their kid be recognized on the football field must buy a ticket to enter the stadium.

National Merit

Senior Trajan Falk


Senior Nicholas Dudzikowski

Senior David Garcia

Senior Rowen Hamilton

Senior Zachary McDaris

Senior Maxen Powell

Senior Ford Wisdoon

College Board
National African American Recognition

Yasmin Alicea

Heavyn Carter

Maiya Pearcy

National Hispanic Recognition Program

Diego Aguinaga

Yasmin Alicea

Marlowe Berry

Hugo Carvajal

Evan Correa

Lorenzo De La Fuente

Olivia Fuentes

David Garcia

Gavin Garcia

Kalten Guerra

Charles Hamilton

Electra Hart-Breisch

Aidan Kelner

Natalie Maille

Jameson Maldonado

Michael Muzquiz

Isabella Rodriguez

Raegan Roussett

Julies Salinas

Lauren Sotelo

Nathanael Suarez

Sebastian Tellez-Avella

Madilyn Trevino

Lindsey Williams

Braeden Wills

National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program

Diego Aguinaga

Emma Alexander

Teagan Allen

Reese Anderson

William Arrmour

Brady Belden

Marlowe Berry

Ryder Bonser

Heavyn Carter

Briana Cosby

Exekiel Devadoss

Audrey Dierschke

Brittan Fedyk

Noah French

Chesney Gaines

Bridget George

Zachary Gingrich

Kalten Guerra

Victoria Haider

Charles Hamilton

Kirsten Hampton

Chase Hansen

Isabella Hickey

Allison Howe

Emily Ingram

Olivia Ingram

Wayne Jurica

Paityn Keith

Davis Kuhn

Douglas Lantz

Abbey Lasater

Natalie Maille

Jameson Maldonado

Bethany Mann

William Martin

Victoria Martinez

Michael McCarthy

Maycee Moody

Michael Muzquiz

Nandena Mihira Narendra Boopathi

Valerie Nolan

Kelechi Nwaeze

Jensen Olesko

William Patteson

Seth Permenter

Gavin Rodriguez

Isabella Rodriguez

Jules Salinas

Konner Schneider

Sidney Smith

Nathanael Suarez

Jacob Tewksbury

Major Trevino

Ryland Walker

Tayler Wenner

Alexandra Whelchel

Lindsey Williams

Braeden Wills

Ella Winkler

Ford Wisdom

Joshua Wren


Ever since 1955, 7,500 college scholarships have been awarded annually by the nonprofit, grant-supported National Merit Scholarship Corporation to high school students on the basis of scholastic record, personal character, and score on a test administered nationally.

In order to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, most students need a PSAT score within the top 1% of their state. The average cutoff score is approximately 215 out of 228 which is an equivalent of a 1490 on the full SAT.

Among the requirements needed, writing an essay, having a record of very high academic performance in grades nine through 12 and in any college course work taken are to name a few. To be fully endorsed for Finalist standing and qualified for a National Merit Scholarship, a high school principal needs to recommend the student as well.    

Every year, those 7,500 high school students receive a National Merit Scholarship, which will reward those students with around $2,500 each for their freshman year at the college of their choosing  

In addition to a National Merit Scholarship, students with qualifying PSAT scores can receive merit scholarships offered by businesses and colleges. Some colleges even boast about the number of “National Merit Scholars” they enroll, as well as offer National Merit Finalists full-ride scholarships


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