Year brings most National Merit Scholars in campus history

by Chloe Jordan | Editor-In-Chief

Annually, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards students who perform well on the PSAT with different tiers of honors. Notified this September, the school had seven National Merit Semi-Finalists, nine National Merit Commended Scholars, and 63 College Board National Recognitions Honors. 

“It’s definitely the most we’ve ever had at Johnson, and this year we had the most out of any public school in San Antonio,” National Merit Coordinator and counselor Desiree Meza said. 

National Merit candidates on the stairs in the foyer
Over 70 students earned National Merit recognition this year.

The top 50,000 students in the nation receive Recognition Honors, and out of that, 34,000 are named Commended Scholars and 16,000 place as Semi-Finalists. Finalists are sponsored by various corporations and notified between April and July. 

“Depending on what tier of the award that you received, usually the scholarship amount will go up the higher the tier that you’re in,” Meza said. “For Semi-Finalists, some schools will give you a full ride. I know Texas Tech gives a full ride to Semi-Finalists.”

And for Co-President Senior Class Officer Toluwalase Ogunbomehin, being a Commended Scholar was helpful to put on her resume for all of the out-of-state private schools she has applied to. 

“It feels pretty cool,”  Ogunbomehin said. “I actually thought there would be more people to get it, but yeah.” 

Her goal is to major in neuroscience, and eventually become a physician. And although she didn’t extensively prepare for the PSAT, Khan Academy still played a role in her score.

“I had already taken my SAT before at some point, but no, I didn’t really prepare,” Ogunbomehin said. “I did Khan Academy for a total of one month over the year, cumulatively.”

According to Meza, National Hispanic Scholars also earn scholarships in Texas. 

“They still get something from a lot of your Texas schools, I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was like $1,500 – $5,000 a semester, so still pretty good,” Meza said.

In addition to the scholarships and recognition National Merit Scholars receive, a breakfast is held on November 2 to celebrate their achievements.

“So the breakfast, it’s a really beautiful event. We have it every fall, usually in late October or early November. Traditionally, it’s at Canyon Springs Golf Club, and we have the counselors there,” Meza said. “The students are invited, along with two family members, usually their parents. And, we have a few board members there and sometimes a guest speaker.”

At the Madison football game on November 3, National Merit Scholars have another opportunity to be recognized. Like the breakfast, their names are called, they stand, and they say what college they plan on going to and what their desired major is. 

“And then, they get a medal at the game with whatever their designation was, so National Recognition Scholar, and then the Commended Scholars, and the Semi-Finalists,” Meza said.

The scholars will also be included in the senior awards program and be in the group picture section in the yearbook. 

“I think it is really a lot in part to our teachers. I think we have wonderful teaching staff at Johnson, and then our students are just very academically competitive, so it’s not a surprise to me,” Meza said. “But I’m very proud of all of our students and also for all of our teachers who helped guide them and prepare them for this test.” 

According to Meza, scoring well on the PSAT is good for the college application process and gives students a higher possibility of earning the National Merit as an accolade for their resume.

“It’s something that I think sets students apart, when we say that 1.5 million students take the PSAT nationally, and out of those 1.5 only 50,000 are recognized for having an outstanding score,” Meza said. “That’s a really good deal. I think that having that on your resume will definitely help them stand out from other students.”

For more information on the National Merit Scholarships, visit

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