College Board recognizes students as Commended National Merit Scholars

Juniors stumble out of bed early in the morning making sure they’re prepared for the hours of bubbling a scantron ahead of them. In their heads, they constantly chant “don’t forget your calculator,” and try to memorize all kinds of tips and tricks their teachers have been drilling them on for weeks. Students move to their assigned classrooms after the bell rings and the nerves of another standardized test begin to kick in since this particular test impacts scholarships and preparation for the SAT. Seniors Patrick Blumenthal, Rachel Paholek, and Lucas Martin are among the top 5% of students recognized nationally as Commended National Merit Scholars by earning 1410, 1440, and a 1450 respectively.

Each of these students spent time preparing for the test working toward the goal of doing their best to help them earn scholarships and acceptance at top universities.

“I went to various study sessions offered by Bryan ISD,” Patrick said. “I also did extensive studying over the summer and at home.”

Rachel took advantage of the PSAT prep offered by her IB independent study teacher Lisa Prejean as well as online resources that she could access from home.

“The score I got means a lot to me and all of my academic capabilities and hopefully it’ll help me get scholarships in college,” Rachel said. “I practiced a lot in my advisory with my teacher and also using Kahn Academy outside of school.”

Luke took a different approach and used his previous knowledge and all of his classes collectively as a resource for answering questions on the PSAT.

“I just did basic school stuff,” Lucas said. “I learned everything I did through high school and then I was ready for the test when I took it. I kept everything I learned over the years in mind, so I had all those experiences to pull from during the test.”

These three students excel outside of the classroom as well and prove to be well-rounded individuals when it comes to their participation in school and community events.

“Throughout Rachel’s high school years she has proven her dedication to the school and community through both activity and service,” Prejean said. “Her desire to serve her community through things like United Way is complimented by her abilities in the classroom. She is the perfect example of what diligence and determination can achieve and that is reflected in her academic performance.”

Patrick also continues to demonstrate that there can be a balance between academics and extracurricular activities.

“Patrick is a well-rounded student who excels in the band while also supporting his community through his work with Key Club,” Prejean said. “He values his education and continues to pursue his goals as he looks to college next year.”

These students showcase that sports, band, and service organizations can go hand-in-hand with achievements in academics.

“Luke manages to keep up excellent grades, even while participating in extracurricular activities,” AP Calculus teacher Donna Miller said. “He has an excellent attitude toward his academic endeavors and it has paid off for him. He is always attentive in class, and follows through if he doesn’t understand. He is an excellent example for his peers of how hard work and dedication can make a difference.”

Although commended students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some students become candidates for other Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.