The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

National Merit Semifinalists Celebrated for Scholarly Success

Courtesy of Holly Browning
Standing on the bleachers in the small gym, Westwood’s National Merit semi-finalists pose for a photo after the awards ceremony. The biggest group of winners in Round Rock ISD, a total of 45 seniors won this award: a result of scholarly dedication and diligence.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, 45 seniors gathered in the small gym before school to celebrate their success in being selected as the new National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. 

“I know how hard I’ve worked to get to the position I am in now,” Phoebe Webster ‘24 said. “I am really impressed that 44 other people got to also accomplish this in union with me. ”

The biggest group in Round Rock Independent School District, Westwood’s National Merit semifinalists received the awards based on their PSAT scores from junior year. To achieve National Merit, students have to score in the top 1% on the PSAT, which about 1.7 million juniors took last year. During the ceremony, the semifinalists gathered in the small gym with their parents to receive their awards and yard signs, as well as hear Principal Campbell’s speech. To earn the scholarship, these students will have to undergo a different application process requiring essays and endorsements. 


Below is the full list of National Merit semifinalists:

Soohyun Ahn

Ajith Bandlapalli

Andrew Bearse

Brandee Benson

Benjamin Bryant

William Bryant

Ryland Caballero

Aarnav Chitari 

Ava Dasari

Annetta Davoli 

Emma Dong

Avyay Gupta

Aryan Harkawat 

Minseong Jung 

Neel Kakkad 

Nitya Khurana

William Lei 

Varshini Loganathan

Aditya Madhan

Aarav Mahesh

Ria Makaraju 

Kaushik Nagarajan 

Paras Nijhawan

Robert Ou

Riya Patil

Rithik Polavaram

Kavin Poovannan

Matthew Rao

Kate Ren 

Aanchal Save 

Dillon Shadowen

Ravi Shah 

Ishan Sharma 

Nilay Surana

Ethan Tang

Grace Wang 

Haoze Wang 

Phoebe Wooster

Gloria Wu 

Jason Xiong 

Brooke Xu 

Ethan Yang 

Blake Zhang 

Brian Zhang

Yochen Zhong 

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Sydney Fuller
Sydney Fuller, Reporter
Class of 2026 Hey! This is my first year working for student press and I’m so excited to see what this new year brings. I am very interested on hearing about other people’s opinions and I’m also interested in social issues. Outside of school, you can find me reading, dancing, watching scary movies, and drinking my 5th iced coffee of the day.

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