Return to Headlines

Waco High students selected as Commended National Merit Scholars

WACO, TX (October 5, 2023)-- Two Waco High School seniors have been named Commended Students in the 69th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Seniors Samuel Everett and Jude Wendel will receive their Certificate of Commendation at the October 26 Waco ISD Board of Trustees meeting. 


To qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, students must take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in the fall of their Junior year. Everett and Wendel scored in the top three percent of students taking the 2021 PSAT, an achievement that fewer than 34,000 students across the nation earned.   


Everett plans to attend Rice University with a double major in Math and Chemical Physics. He plans to become a natural sciences professor and began taking dual credit courses his freshman year, adjusting to the rigor of taking college-level exams which assisted in his success on the PSAT.


“The school offered a bunch of courses (to prepare). I took full advantage of my teachers and paid attention to everything they taught me. This helped me prepare for the test and utilize what Waco ISD had to offer,” Everett said. “I probably checked every day for a month around the time they were supposed to release the PSAT scores.”


Everett also serves on the student council, plays on the school tennis team, is a member of the National Honor Society, and works part-time at an ice cream store. He is an avid ping pong player.


Wendel is leaning toward attending Texas A&M University and is interested in pursuing a career in the culinary arts. He thinks he has a better insight than most people which helps him understand concepts faster.


“(The school district) has given me a lot of opportunities to get ahead and work on myself,” said Wendel, who attended gifted and talented classes in elementary school, Waco ISD’s Atlas Academy in middle school, and advanced placement and dual credit classes in high school. 


Wendel said he went through the test quickly the first time, and then went back through it to confirm his answers. 


“I used about three-fourths of the time that was given to complete the test,” Wende said. “My mom has always been very supportive and always pushed me to do extra…to get into these higher programs.” 


Wendel enjoys volunteering through community outreach activities and enjoys web comics and video gaming. 


In addition to the possibility of securing millions of dollars in potential scholarships, Everett and Wendel will have new opportunities for their collegiate journeys at the universities of their choosing and their major areas of study. 


WISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said both students have displayed outstanding academic potential. 


“It’s an honor to have had Samuel and Jude as students in our district since pre-kindergarten. I look forward to seeing the incredible things that they will achieve in the future,” Kincannon said. “I am proud of them and grateful for our teachers who contributed to their academic success.”