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Aledo ISD

AHS seniors earn prestigious National Merit Semifinalist status


Aledo High School is home to two National Merit Semifinalists for the second-straight year as Bearcat seniors Luke Shelton and Zach Taylor were recognized on Wednesday, Sept. 14, among the 16,000 semifinalists nationwide and nearly 2,000 in Texas in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. 

The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test entrants in each state.

“We are so excited for Luke and Zach for earning this prestigious recognition and commend them for all of the hard work that got them to this point,” AHS principal Angi Tims said. “Luke and Zach represent Aledo High School so well, and I know our incredible teachers who have helped them along the way are as proud as I am. Congratulations Luke and Zach!”

Shelton, who would eventually like a job that allows him to invent new things, plans to major in engineering, possibly mechanical or electrical, in college. He is applying to Texas A&M, MIT, the University of Texas at Austin, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

“After receiving my score on the PSAT, I had hoped that my score would be enough,” Shelton said. “I was pretty happy when I found out that I was a National Merit Semifinalist.”

Taylor, whose dream job is to be a NASA or SpaceX astronaut, is planning to major in Aerospace Engineering. He is applying to Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin, Purdue University, and the University of Oklahoma. About learning of his National Merit Semifinalist recognition, Taylor said he was “sort of expecting it” after calculating his scores.

“But I was still extraordinarily excited when I actually got it!” he said. 

Shelton and Taylor will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million.

High school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. National Merit Finalists are notified of this designation in February. National Merit Scholarship winners are selected from the group of Finalists.


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