Bettye Edgington, 817-399-2072

All nine of the HEB ISD high school students who were named semifinalists in the 2007 National Merit Scholarship Program last fall have now been named National Merit finalists. Five students attend LD Bell High School, and four attend Trinity High School, making them part of a select group of high school seniors in the country.

The finalists from LD Bell High School are Brian Balthrop, Ben Fain, Alyssa Nabors, Nicole Rowlette, Sam Smith. The finalists from Trinity High School are Katie Baker, Kaitlyn Bryant, James Mercado, Ian Slinker.

They were selected as semifinalists in the fall based on their scores from the 2005 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and are among the students scoring the highest in the state.

The College Board also recognized two students in its other academic programs. Alexandra Weeks, L.D. Bell High School, was named a National Hispanic Recognition Scholar.

The College Board's National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) was initiated in 1983 to identify outstanding Hispanic high school students. Each year, the NHRP identifies approximately 3,300 of the highest scoring students from a nationwide total of 124,000 high school juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT and designated themselves as Hispanic.

Tiffany Burgess, Trinity High School, was named a National Achievement Scholar.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding African American high school students. Of the 130,000 students who participate, about 4,600 are recognized as scholars.


In 2005, the group of nine students recognized as finalists today began the National Merit process, along with more than 1.4 million other juniors in nearly 21,000 high schools, by taking the 2005 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists had to advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling several other requirements. Each year about 90 percent of the semifinalists in the country attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners, earning the Merit Scholar title.


The National Merit Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The nine HEB ISD students were part of an estimated 16,000 semifinalists – less than one percent of high school seniors nationwide – that were announced September 13, 2006 by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8, 200 Merit Scholarship awards, worth $33 million, that will be offered later this year.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955.

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