St. John's

At 6 National Merit Scholarship Winners and 4% of the senior class, St. John’s School took top honors in Houston.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has announced the Scholarship Winners in their 62nd National Merit Scholarship Program, which is arguably one of the most prestigious academic high school competitions in the United States. Scholarship Winners are current high school seniors who took the PSAT in October of 2015. In addition to the very brag-worthy title, winners generally receive a $2,500 cash prize.

Steps to Becoming a National Merit Scholarship Winner

Want the prestigious recognition and scholarship? You must attain certain goals, best met through some initial P/SAT prep and consistent academic achievement throughout high school.

  1. Participate in the National Merit Scholarship Competition by taking the PSAT (1.6 million students).
  2. Become a “Semifinalist” by scoring in the top 1% of students in your state (16,000 students).
  3. Become a “Finalist” (15,000 students) by—
    1. Being fully endorsed by yout high school.
    2. Demonstrate a record of consistently very high academic performance from grades 9–12.
    3. Score in about the top 1% on the SAT (this ensures the PSAT scores weren’t a fluke).
    4. Submit an application.
    5. Be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  4. To try your chance at being a winner (7,500 students), submit a holistic application for evaluation by a panel of high school and college counselors, which might include—
    1. Academic record
    2. School’s curriculum
    3. Multiple test scores
    4. School recommendation
    5. Activities and leadership
    6. Essay

Given all the steps involved, the National Merit Scholarship Winners are very impressive students indeed. They represent less than 0.5% (half of a percent) of high school juniors in the United States.

To view the original press release from National Merit Scholarship Corporation, click here.

List of 2017 Houston-Area Scholarship Winners

This list includes schools in Houston, Clear Lake, Cypress, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Sugarland, and The Woodlands.

Bellaire HS

  1. Anusha De
  2. Oren Pazgal
  3. Clarise E. Trinh
  4. Anna E. Jorgensen
  5. Michelle Tang

Carnegie Vanguard HS

  1. Amrith Lotlikar

Cinco Ranch HS

  1. Trisha N. Madhavan

Clear Lake HS

  1. Amanda Y. Hua
  2. Rahul V. Yesantharao

Cy-Fair HS

  1. Sophia N. Tang

Cypress Falls HS

  1. Sarah T. Vu

Cypress Ranch HS

  1. Nathaniel J. Miller

Cypress Woods HS

  1. Lauren E. Crandon

Dulles HS

  1. Shreyas Balaji
  2. Rahul Kilambi

Duchesne Academy

  1. Ariel E. Tarrand

Glenda Dawson HS

  1. Justin D. Feng
  2. Wendy Tao

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA)

  1. Augustin D. Liebster


  1. Joshua C. Korb

Houston Christian HS

  1. Allison Couch

James E. Taylor HS

  1. Maria Sturzu

John Cooper School

  1. Gina Valderrama

Kingwood Park HS

  1. Gabriel C. Zolton

Kinkaid School

  1. John Henry Goettee
  2. Robert S. Lahourcade

Memorial HS

  1. Davis K. Kirchhofer
  2. Frank Yang

Michael E. De Bakey HS

  1. Jeong Woo Han
  2. Ray T. Wang

Obra D. Tompkins HS

  1. Lucy H. Chen

Seven Lakes HS

  1. Clio H. Sun

St. John’s School

  1. Laura Y. Huang
  2. Cameron M. Cook
  3. Shuning Liu
  4. Jason Souvaliotis
  5. Maria I. Vazquez
  6. Yuling Zhang

St. Thomas Episcopal

  1. Calvin Wong

Stephen F. Austin HS

  1. Alexander W. Zhao

Strake Jesuit

  1. William P. Ledig
  2. William A. Smith

Texas Christian School

  1. Morgan L. Kennon

William P. Clements HS

  1. Dhruva Karkada
  2. Kevin Rao

This article was originally published on and written by Shelby Joe.

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  • Sara Fetahagic

    Sara holds a BA in English and Linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin. A native Houstonian, she began writing for General Academic in 2021.

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