HEWITT, Texas – Midway High School students continued their legacy of excellence in standardized testing this year, with 13 seniors being recognized through the National Merit Program.

One of these students, Michael Becker, has been named a National Merit Semifinalist. Finalists will be announced in February 2022. Becker scored among the top one percent of high school seniors in the nation on the PSAT/NMSQT.

Michael Becker. (Courtesy: Midway ISD)

Michael is the son of Mike and Amy Becker, of Hewitt. He is an AP Scholar with Distinction and a recipient of the Spirit of Midway Award for his volunteer service. Michael serves as Vice President of Student Council, is a member of FCA and National Honor Society, and competes in UIL Science. He is also a member of the Antioch Community Church Youth Group, and volunteers at the Hewitt Public Library. Following graduation, Michael plans to attend Texas A&M University to major in engineering.

Out of the 1.5 million entrants into the National Merit Scholarship Program, twelve Midway High School Students qualified for recognition as National Merit Commended Scholars representing two-thirds of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT.

Ashlyn Melichar is being recognized both for her achievement as a National Merit Commended Scholar and for earning a perfect score on the ACT.

Ashlyn Melichar. (Courtesy: Midway ISD)

Ashlyn is the daughter of Ken and Cameo Melichar of Hewitt. In addition to her perfect ACT score, she is also an AP Scholar with Distinction. Ashlyn received a superior rating on a class one vocal solo at the UIL State Solo and Ensemble competition and is a three-year choir member. She also serves as HOSA treasurer and competes in Science UIL. Outside of school, she is a Youth Delegate on the Central Texas Soccer Referee Association Board of Directors and a varsity soccer referee, takes guitar lessons and voice lessons, and is a member of Central United Methodist Church. Ashlyn plans to attend either A&M or the University of Texas to study Biomedical Engineering as an undergraduate and hopes to complete a PhD related to medical research.

Midway’s other National Merit Commended scholars are as follows:

Sasha Barrera is the daughter of Janet and Mark Barrera of Robinson. Sasha attended the American Overseas School of Rome from grades 9-11. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction, winner of her school talent show in 2019, and was named Varsity Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2020 and 2021. She served as captain of her varsity girls’ track team for three years and ran cross country for two years. Sasha is also a member of the Global Issues Network, National Honor Society, Italian Honor Society and the Meistersingers Varsity Choir. Outside of school, she enjoys varsity cheerleading and music as a talented singer and guitar player. After graduation, Sasha plans to pursue studies in the field of social sciences at a university. 

Sam Battle is the son of Drs. Jake and Soo Battle of Waco. Sam is a member of the National Honor Society, an AP Scholar with Honor, captain and 2-year letterman of the Varsity football team, and a 3-year recipient of the Spirit of Midway Award for volunteerism. Outside of school, Sam is involved with Teen Leadership Waco and is a member of First Methodist Church of Waco. He volunteers regularly at the Advocacy Center and other local nonprofits in the community. Upon graduation, Sam plans to attend the University of Texas in the Plan II Honors Program.

Ava Clevenger is the daughter of Josh and Lisa Clevenger of McGregor. Ava is a member of the National Honor Society and the Midway High School Chamber Singers. She is also involved in the art program, is a National Spanish Exam gold and silver medalist, and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Ava has earned a place in the TMEA Region Choir for the past 3 years and received a superior rating on her State UIL Solo. As an active volunteer in the local community, she is a four-year Spirit of Midway Award recipient, has been a member of the National Charity League Waco Chapter since 2016, and serves as Co-President of her NCL class this year. Ava was also a Waco Symphony Belle last year and is a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Youth Community, serving as an acolyte on some Sundays. After graduation, she plans to continue her studies in psychology and religion.

Inoo Jo is the son of Hwasun and Jangho Jo of Hewitt. Inoo is a four-year member of the Computer Science Club as well as a member of the National Honor Society. He takes part in numerous academic competitions including UIL Math, UIL Computer Science and Debate. Inoo also participates in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot competition and outside of school he plays in the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra.  

Evan Jones is the son of Stephen and Karen Jones. As a member of the symphony orchestra, Evan competes in UIL Solo and Ensemble and has earned a combination of 1s and 2s for his performances. He also made All-Region in piano in 2019 and 2020 as well as All-Region in bass in 2020. Additionally, Evan is a member of the National Honor Society and he competes in Academic UIL, earning first place in Science and second place in Mathematics and Number Sense at District in 2020. Upon graduation, Evan plans to attend either the University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M University to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. 

Drew Kedersha is the son of Scott and Kristen Kedersha of Waco. He is a member of the Midway High School Meistersingers, Chamber Singers, Cross Country team, Blue Crew, National Honor Society and the musical. Prior to moving to Midway the summer before his junior year, Drew participated in soccer, track, varsity choir, cross country and show choir. Outside of school, Drew is involved in the youth group at Harris Creek Baptist church where he serves as a worship leader and as part of the Student Leadership Team. His high school leadership positions have included cross country captain, choir vice president and student government class representative as a sophomore. Drew is an AP Scholar with Distinction, a TMEA Texas Music Scholar, and has received multiple Outstanding Solo awards. Drew’s future plans include attending college to major in either Commercial Music or Computer Science, or a combination of the two. 

Heidi Kuang is the daughter of Weidong Kuang and Lora Tu of Woodway. Heidi excels in both academics and athletics as a member of the swim team and the National Honor Society. She has also earned numerous academic awards including being named a National Spanish Exam gold medalist and an AP Scholar with Distinction. After graduation, Heidi plans to pursue further studies in computer science. 

Caleb Lively is the son of Lauren and Michael Lively of McGregor. Caleb is a member of the National Honor Society and is a National German Exam honorable mention. He was also invited to the Envision Aerospace and Aviation Academy at Rice University. Caleb serves as captain of one of Midway’s robotics teams and outside of school he volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. Caleb hopes to attend the Colorado school of Mines where he will study engineering. 

Carson Lutz is the son of Lori Lutz of Waco. Carson is a Texas Music Teachers Association State Finalist in the Piano Performance Contest, a third place state medalist in UIL Literary Criticism and a National Spanish Exam gold medalist. He serves as the Midway Band Head Drum Major, National Honor Society President and Spanish Club co-President, and is a member of the UIL Literary Criticism and Spelling and Vocabulary teams. Carson is also an AP Scholar with Distinction, Spirit of Midway Award recipient and Student Council Member. In the community, Carson is involved in the Young Men’s Service League where he served as former president. He is also a piano student of Dr. Brian Marks and Dr. Jani Parsons and a music theory student of Dr. Amy Fleming. Following graduation, Carson hopes to attend Yale University and major in political science and/or music. 

Piya Patel is the daughter of Priti and Vikas Patel of Waco. Piya is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as the online editor for the Panther Post. She is also active in the community and has completed a marketing internship with Digital Media Butterfly in addition to volunteering to teach creative writing through the Hewitt Public Library. After graduation, Piya plans to attend either Rice, U.T. Austin or Baylor to study business and marketing as well as writing and literature. 

Matthew Shirley is the son of Doyle and Ann Shirley of McGregor. Matthew is a Spirit of Midway Award recipient for his achievements in volunteerism and a member of the National Honor Society. He competes in UIL Academics in Science and Math and also participates in Robotics. In the community, Matthew serves as a volunteer basketball coach. His plans after graduation are to attend either Columbia University or Washington University in St. Louis to study architecture.

Source: Midway Independent School District