Eighteen AISD students earn PSAT honors

Morgan Wade
Eighteen Amarillo ISD high school seniors earned scholar honors based on their PSAT test scores. Four students are National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars, 13 students are National Merit Scholarship Program honorees and one student earned both honors.

Morgan Wade, of Amarillo High School, received the highest honor of the group as a semifinalist in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Wade advances in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.

More than 1.5 million juniors from 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).  Semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and are the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Commended students do not continue in the 2019 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, but are considered to be among the top 50,000 scorers of students who took the 2018 PSAT/NMSQT.

“Colleges look at students who are Commended, Semi-Finalist and Finalist as top achieving students. Many elite private colleges and universities have automatic admission policies for these students and also offer significant scholarship programs. Students can receive access to honors only programs and classes, as well,” said Tracey Morman, Director of Counseling/College & Career Readiness.

In addition to Wade as a semifinalist, AISD seniors who were named National Merit Commended scholars are Shandra Ahsan, Faith Austin, Makayla Beebe, Rohoman Hamid, McKenna Ledbetter, Treyce Money, Vishal Reddy, Jordan Smith, Keith Worley and Pranav Yalamanchili from Amarillo High; and Sydney Buckner, Shelbi Foster and Michael Izzard from Tascosa High.

Separate from the National Merit Scholarship Program, the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) recognizes approximately 5,000 students nationwide each year from scores on the PSAT test. AISD’s NHRP honorees are Edwin Perez from Tascosa High; Casey Casias, James Castaneda and Jeremy Hernandez from Caprock High; and Jordan Smith from Amarillo High.

Though the NHRP does not award scholarship money, it is a prestigious academic honor. Students can qualify for both NHRP and National Merit honors. Amarillo High's Jordan Smith earned both honors for the class of 2020.

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