Frenship High School students receive academic recognition
All of those students earned their honors with test scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors.
About 16,000 high-scoring participants, or about one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified in early September of their status as semifinalists.
About 15,000 of those semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to finalist standing.
Winners of the Merit Scholarships are chosen from the finalist group based on their abilities, skills and accomplishments.
David Vroonland, superintendent of Frenship Independent School District, said being commended or a semi-finalist is important because it increases the number of opportunities college-bound students have.
“Having met that standard on a test is significant in terms of their opportunity,” Vroonland said. “It’s a gateway to scholarships and a gateway to universities.”
Vroonland has been pushing for younger students to begin preparing to take the PSAT in eighth grade. He said school officials also talk to parents about what the test could mean for their children.
“We meet with the parents, and we talk to them about what this is,” he said.
For the students who made the cut this year, there was little advance preparation for that test, Vroonland said.
“I’m very proud of them, very happy for them. I know it took a lot of hard work on their part,” he said, also recognizing that teachers and parents often put in a lot of work as well. “That’s a terrific accomplishment, and certainly sets them up for some advantages.”
Drew Macha, a semifinalist this year, will have to wait until the spring semester to find out if he will be a National Merit Scholar finalist.
Macha said he has already written an essay for the contest detailing a life-changing experience. He wrote about how joining the Frenship High School percussion line changed him.
His older brother had played tennis competitively, and Macha thought he would be pursuing that as a FHS student. As a freshman though, he found himself forced to choose, and he dropped the tennis racket for drum sticks.
“I enjoyed being in the drum line more,” he said.
Now a senior, he has a bit more freedom in his schedule and has taken up tennis for FHS again. He also plays disc golf. Next year, Macha said he might be on campus at either Texas Tech or the Colorado School of Mines. He hopes to study chemical engineering.
Macha was told last year when he got his test scores that he was within range to be a semifinalist.
Making the grade, he said, validates his hard work in high school.
“I feel like I’m a good test taker,” he said.
Roxanna Garcia was named a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar, based on her PSAT scores.
Garcia hopes to attend either Texas Tech or the University of Texas, where she wants to study accounting or some math-related field.
Garcia said she was surprised to get the honor, which has already netted a few scholarship offers.
“It’ll probably show people that I’m capable of doing my work, and I put focus on my education,” she said.
Hanna Bunting was commended by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. for her scores on the PSAT.
Bunting is active in academic UIL journalism, National Technical Honor Society and Journalism Club. She is president of the FHS chapter of National Honor Society.
Bunting plans to major in biomedical engineering at Texas A&M.
“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, and I’m also good at math and science, so it combined the two things I’m good at and enjoy,” Bunting said.
Being commended is important, Bunting said, because it may help her to get scholarships.
“It’s good to know that all the hard work has paid off,” she said.
Matthew Howard was commended by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for his scores on the PSAT.
Howard plays saxophone in the FHS band and jazz band. He is also active in the Greenlawn Church of Christ youth group.
He hopes to study Bible, ministry or missions, possibly at Harding University.
The commendation may open up opportunities that he wouldn’t otherwise have in college, like honors programs or scholarships, Howard said.
“It doesn’t show so much what I can do, but what God does through his servants,” Howard said.
Sean Cartwright was also commended by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
He is the historian of National Honor Society, on the varsity tennis team and active in the Wolfforth United Methodist Church youth group.
“I’m hoping to major in some sort of engineering,” Cartwright said. He has been applying to Texas A&M, Rice and a few out-of-state colleges.
Being commended, Cartwright said, gets his name out as a scholar, and helps colleges to recognize “that I’m out there.” Commendation is a tangible result of the work he has been putting in, he said.
Taylor Lindgren was commended by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Lindgren plays euphonium in band and orchestra, is secretary of the FHS student council and is in National Honor Society. She is active in the Holy Spirit Catholic Church youth group.
Lindgren is considering colleges in Texas and on the East Coast, where she has more family.
Someday she hopes to be a doctor, but she said she is still deciding on which undergraduate degree to pursue beforehand.
Being commended opens a lot of opportunities, Lindgren said.
“I’m proud that I got it,” she said. “I guess I just think it’s a representation of my efforts in school and in the tests.”
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