Record 17 Midway Students Recognized by National Merit Program

L to R: Edward Y. Kim, Denis Barbus, Logan Blackwell, Edward S. Kim, Daniel Seibert, Robert Mathis, Nathaniel Morgan, Matthew Huynh, Brittany Brewer, Sarah Weaver, Sophie Tullos, Lauren Hartgroves, Hannah Wang, Miriam McCormick, Hannah Curtiss, and Ava Kowalski. Not pictured: Benjamin Sepanski

Midway High School students have a legacy of outstanding performance in standardized testing, ranking above both state and national averages on both the SAT and ACT. This year’s seniors are no exception, and in fact, this phenomenal class has set an impressive record. Seventeen students –the most in Midway High School history–have received notice of recognition through the National Merit Program. Beyond that, seven students have been named National Merit Semifinalists, compared to two semifinalists at more in any prior year. Finalists will be named in February 2017.

duke-11-12Even as seventh graders, this senior class broke achievement records for college testing. In 2012, Midway Middle School had a record-breaking 21 students earn scores better than half of the college-bound junior and seniors who took the SAT or ACT tests. Nine of this year’s National Merit recognized students were a part of the 2012 MMS group.


Congratulations to Midway High School’s “magnificent seven” National Merit Semifinalists: Brittany Brewer, Matthew Huynh, Edward S. Kim, Miriam McCormick, Benjamin Sepanski, Hannah Wang and Sarah Weaver.

  • Brittany Caroline Brewer is the daughter of Drs. Amy and Brian Brewer of McGregor. Brittany is an alumna of Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute Young Artist Vocal Program (2015, 2016), All State Mixed Choir Member (2015), National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Student Auditions Semifinalist, and AP Scholar with Distinction (2016). She is active as a part of Midway’s Camerata Orchestra, Meistersingers, German Club (President, 2015-16), French Club (President 2016-17), Central Texas String Academy, and National Honor Society. Upon graduation, Brittany intends to major in vocal performance and possibly double-major in German or linguistics.
  • Matthew Huynh is the son of Dave and Tina Huynh of Hewitt. Matthew is a National AP Scholar, was awarded National Spanish Exam Gold (Level 4), and is a member of the Top 10 Team at the State Mock Trial Competition. He is a member of Midway’s Camerata Orchestra, First Baptist Church of Hewitt, Spanish Club, Mock Trial Team and the MHS Ultimate Frisbee Club Team. Matthew plans to attend Columbia University in New York and major in physics.
  • Edward Sangyoon Kim is the son of Sung-Kun Kim and Sang-Nam Yi of Waco. Edward won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) 2016 Best of Category and 1st Grand Award in Biochemistry, earning him the Intel and Indo-US Science & Technology Visit to India Award and an asteroid named in his honor from MIT. He is a Discovery Education & 3M Young Scientist Challenge Top Ten Finalist, National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) National Tournament Qualifier, and UIL State Outstanding Performer. His leadership roles include President of National Honor Society, Captain of Policy Debate, President of University Interscholastic League (UIL) Academics, and President of MHS Peer-to-Peer Tutoring. Edward is an All State Violinist in the MHS Camerata Orchestra. Upon graduation, he plans to study premedicine at an east coast university.
  • Miriam Estelle McCormick is the daughter of Sarah and Blaine McCormick of Woodway. Miriam is an AP Scholar with Honor, National German Exam award winner (bronze medal, level 3), and is on the First Team All-District in Soccer. She is Captain of the MHS Varsity Cross Country Team, and member of the MHS Varsity Soccer Team, National Honor Society, and Calvary Baptist Church Youth Group. Upon graduation, Miriam hopes to study business at Baylor University, The George Washington University, or the University of Southern California.
  • Benjamin Mark Sepanski is the son of Mark and Laura Sepanski of Waco. Ben graduated early and is currently attending Baylor University, studying Computer Science and Mathematics. As a Midway High School student, Ben was involved in the Association of Computing Machinery and First Baptist Waco Church. He earned 2015-16 Teacher Recognition Award in Physics, President’s Gold Scholarship for Baylor University, and he completed Calculus 1, 2, 3, Linear Algebra, and Ordinary Differential Equations at Baylor before high school graduation.
  • Hannah Wang is the daughter of Daniel Wang and Ping Liu of Woodway. Hannah is an active member of the Midway AV Production Team, and is the 2016 BPA State Champion/National Qualifier as well as the 2016 IP National Video Contest Winner. She is a member of the Waco Texans Soccer Team and Antioch Youth Group. Upon graduation, Hannah plans to attend Texas A&M University.
  • Sarah Catherine Weaver is the daughter of Drs. Joel and Sally Weaver of McGregor. Sarah is captain of the Midway High School Varsity Swim Team, an AP Scholar, National Spanish Exam Gold and Silver Medalist (one gold, two silver), and Spirit of Midway recipient. She is actively involved in Meistersingers, PALs, National Honor Society, and National Spanish Honor Society. Sarah plans to attend either Baylor University, majoring in Medical Humanities, or Samford University, majoring in biology.

An impressive nine Midway High School students were named National Merit Commended Scholars, ranking in the top five percent of the nation: Denis Barbus, Logan Blackwell, Lauren Hartgroves, Edward Y. Kim, Ava Kowalski, Robert Mathis, Nathaniel Morgan, Daniel Seibert, and Sophie Tullos.

  • Denis Marcel Barbus is the son of Marcel and Manuela Barbus of Hewitt. Denis is a National Spanish Exam Silver Medalist (Level 5), and earned the Luminant Scholarship and VFW Patriot’s Pen 3rd Place Award. He is a three-year member of the MHS Varsity Soccer Team, and is involved in National Honor Society and Antioch Youth Ministry. Denis plans to attend Baylor, Trinity, University of Arkansas, or Louisville and major in Accounting or Business Administration.
  • Logan A. Blackwell is the son of Randy and Tracie Blackwell of Hewitt. Upon graduation, Logan plans to major in biology.
  • Lauren Kathleen Hartgroves is the daughter of Larry and Lori Hartgroves of Waco. Lauren earned second place in Academic UIL Regional Competition, “1” ratings in Choir Solo and Ensemble, and the Spirit of Midway Award for volunteerism. She is actively involved in National Honor Society, German National Honor Society, Art, Choir, German Club, Student Council, and Acteens at First Baptist Woodway. Lauren plans to attend Texas A&M University or Baylor University and major in international studies.
  • Edward Y. Kim is the son of Yong Kim and Ae Seo of Waco. Edward is an AP Scholar with Distinction, a member of National Honor Society, and is in the top 10 percent of his graduating class. Upon graduation, he plans to attend either Rice University or Baylor and major in Chemistry.
  • Ava Kathleen Kowalski is the daughter of Stephen and Eileen Kowalski of Woodway. Ava is President of the MHS Spanish Club, top 10 percent of the senior class, an athletic trainer, and a member of PALs, National Honor Society and Student Council. She enjoys working as a camp counselor at Frontier Camp. Upon graduation, Ava plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in kinesiology/athletic training and then pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.
  • Robert Wayne Mathis is the son of Terry and Susan Mathis of Hewitt. Robert has earned recognitions as a member of the UIL One Act Play All-Star Cast (achieved at District, Bi-District, and Area levels), a Spirit of Midway two-year award-recipient, and a National Spanish Exam medalist (Bronze – Spanish I; Silver – Spanish II and III). His extensive leadership roles include Vice President of Panther Players, President of Songs for Seniors, Captain of Blue Crew, and Secretary of National Honor Society. He is a member of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica and a cellist in the Camerata Orchestra. Robert plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in psychology.
  • Nathaniel John Morgan is the son of Melanie and Ronald Morgan of Hewitt. Nathaniel won the regional history fair two years in a row and competed at the regional UIL competition in science. He is a four-year member of the golf team, a member of the Academic UIL team, National Honor Society, and has earned the Spirit of Midway Award for volunteerism. After graduation, Nathaniel plans to attend Trinity University and major in Biology.
  • Daniel Jonathan Seibert is the son of James and Laura Seibert of Waco. As a four-year member of the MHS Varsity Golf Team, Daniel competed in the UIL State Golf Tournament in 2015 and won First Place in the District Golf Tournament for two years. He has earned two bronze medals in the National Spanish Exam. Daniel is a member of National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and Antioch Community Church Youth Group. He plans to play college golf at a Division 1 university and major in mechanical engineering.
  • Sophia Anne Tullos is the daughter of Suma Tullos and Mark Tullos of Waco. Sophie is Head Drum Major of the Midway High School Marching Band, an AP Scholar, and three-year recipient of the Spirit of Midway Award. As a member of Business Professionals of America, she won second in State for Fundamental Accounting. She is also actively involved in National Honor Society and the Student Leadership Team at First Baptist Woodway. Sophie plans to attend the University of Texas in Austin and study Engineering.

The College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) identifies academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students who score in the top 5,000 from over 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT. Congratulations to Midway’s National Hispanic Recognition Scholar, Hannah Curtiss.

  • Hannah R. Curtiss is the daughter of Bill and Marisol Curtiss of Waco. In addition to being a National Hispanic Merit Scholar, Hannah is active in HOSA and the Art Club. She enjoys fishing, swimming, and missionary trips through Antioch Community Church. Upon graduation, Hannah plans to attend Baylor University and major in Pre-Medicine.