Three SVHS Students Named National Merit Finalists

Comal ISD’s five 2017 National Merit Finalists (Top Row, L-R) Donald Snodgrass and Jared Pauletti. (Bottom Row, L-R) Jeffrey Malone, Sophie Machalec and Tony Perez.

Submitted By Jason Gordon

Smithson Valley High’s Jared Pauletti, Tony Perez and Donald Snodgrass received notice that they were among only 15,000 of 1.5 million seniors in 22,000 high schools nationwide to be named National Merit Finalists. This designation is based on performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

“A student recognized by the National Merit Program has earned a distinctive mark of academic excellence,” said National Merit spokesperson Matt Budreau. “This is an honor that will stay with them the rest of their lives.”

Snodgrass agreed the wait to learn if he was a Merit Finalist or not was at times difficult.

“I was pretty nervous because we were waiting on this news since September,” Snodgrass said. “I’m so honored to learn about this achievement. It’s definitely nice to be able share this with my SVHS classmates. It’s also great to hear there were a couple of other Finalists in Comal ISD.”

These Comal ISD students have a chance to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Bill Gates, a National Merit Finalist and scholarship winner in 1973.

“This is an amazing opportunity,” Pauletti said. “I know this will open so many doors for me.”

National Merit Finalists have the opportunity to earn individual scholarships from many corporations, colleges and universities around the nation.

“These students have set a great example for others in our district to follow,” superintendent Andrew Kim said. “They have achieved one of the highest academic honors in the country.”

Snodgrass will attend either Texas A&M-College Station or the University of Texas-Austin and major in mechanical engineering. Pauletti will attend either Texas A&M-College Station or the University of Texas-Dallas and major in computer engineering. Perez will attend the University of Texas-Austin or Texas Tech and major in computer science.

Canyon High School’s Sophie Machalec and Memorial Early College High School’s Jeffrey Malone were also named National Merit Finalists along with their CISD classmates Snodgrass, Pauletti and Perez.