National Merit Honorees

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. Twelve students have received notice of recognition through the National Merit Program, and three students have been named National Merit Semifinalists. Finalists will be named in February 2019.

Photo L to R: Nathaniel Hejduk, Nicholas Smith, Haeun Moon, Hayoung Moon, Killian McNeil, Daniel Castro-Dubon, Timothy Bang, Gawon Jo, Victoria Logan, William Heston, Alex Aragon, not pictured early graduate Michael Buwalda

Congratulations to Midway High School’s National Merit Semifinalists, Nathaniel Hejduk, Gawon Jo, and Haeun Moon.

Nathaniel Hejduk is son of Matthew and Julia Hejduk of Woodway. Nathaniel is an AP Scholar with Distinction, WordWright Champion: Highest National Honors, National Spanish and German Exams Honoree, and First Alternate to the 2018 TMEA All-State Choir. Nathaniel is active as National Honor Society Vice President and a member of Spanish and French Clubs. His community activities include volunteering at Caritas and Habitat for Humanity, Church Youth Group Leadership Crew, and the Waco Civic Theater. Nathaniel’s graduation plans include studying Computer Science at Rice University.

Gawon Jo is the daughter of Jangho and Hwasun Jo of Hewitt. Gawon is an accomplished artist in visual arts, piano, and writing; she advanced to state competition in PTA Reflections, Scholastic Art and Writing (two years), UIL Ready Writing, and TMTA Piano Competition (three years). She plays piano as a church accompanist, as well as in competition and lessons. Her leadership skills include serving as German Club President and Speech and Debate Captain. She is active in National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE). She has earned the Spirit of Midway Award in volunteerism for her service at the Mayborn Museum and Hewitt Public Library. Gawon plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania as an English Major.

Haeun Moon is the daughter of Sojung and Sungho Moon of Woodway. Haeun has received national accolades as a violinist. She is the Music Teacher’s National Association National First Prize winner, National YoungArts Foundation Winner for Classical Music, featured on NPR’s From the Top, student artist at Juilliard’s Starling-Delay Symposium on Violin Studies, Grand Prize winner of the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, TMEA All-State Orchestra Concertmaster, and Associate Concertmaster of National Youth Orchestra USA. Haeun is also a three-year National Spanish Exam gold medalist, National AP Scholar, and four-year Spirit of Midway award recipient for volunteerism. She is active as president of National Honor Society and Songs for Seniors, member of Student Council, Spanish Club, and UIL Academics, co-founder of Mission Waco Music Program as well as Music for Veterans, and volunteer at Talitha Koum Institute and Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Upon graduation, Haeun plans to pursue international relations.


Six Midway High School students were named National Merit Commended Scholars, ranking in the top five percent of the nation: Timothy Bang, Michael Buwalda, Will Heston, Killian McNeil, Hayoung Moon, and Nicholas Smith.

Timothy Bang is the son of Seung and Grace Bang of McGregor. Timothy is an AP Scholar with Distinction, National French Exam Honoree, National Latin Exam Honoree, and First Alternate for the 2018 TMEA All-State Choir. His leadership activities encompass serving as Varsity Choir Officer, National Honor Society Historian, and French Club Vice President 2017-18. Timothy’s community involvement includes historical reenactments, serving as a Church Youth Group Leader, and performing in the Central Texas Choral Society. Timothy’s graduation plans including enrolling in Rice University to study Political Science.

Michael Buwalda is the son of Gary and Michelle Buwalda of Lorena. Michael is a National Honor Society inductee, Northwest Optimist Scholarship recipient at McLennan Community College, and is active with Antioch Community Church including Unbound, Mission Possible: Austin, and the Antioch youth group. Michael played football at Midway before graduating at the end of junior year alongside the Class of 2018. He is currently attending MCC, with intentions to transfer and pursue a Journalism degree.

William Heston is the son of Jim and Jodi Heston of Hewitt. Will is an AP Scholar with Honors, National Spanish Exam Medalist, National Honor Society member, Vice President of Political Science Club, and Spirit of Midway Volunteerism Award recipient. Will is active as Head Section Leader in the Midway Band and is a two-time All Area Band Qualifier.  He is the Student Team Lead in the Calvary Baptist Youth Group and hs also plays piano. Will hopes to get into Rice and major in Science, Technology, and Engineering and Math.

Killian McNeil is the daughter of Donovan and Monica McNeil of Waco. She is the National Gold Recipient in Interpersonal Communications and two-year president of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). She is accomplished academically as an AP Scholar with Honor, National Honor Society member, and Spanish Club member in AP Spanish 5. Killian is active in Varsity Choir, Songs for Seniors, First United Methodist Church Waco and FUMC VBS, Historic Waco Society, and she earned the Spirit of Midway Award for Volunteerism. Upon graduation, Killian plans to attend Rice University or Texas State University for Anthropology, Spanish, and Communication.

Hayoung Moon is the son of Sungho and Sojung Moon of Woodway. As First Place Winner in the American Protégé International Concerto Competition, Hayoung has performed Carnegie Hall in New York. He was named Principal Cellist of TMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra, Waco Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Midway Orchestra. In addition, he is a National AP Scholar, District Gold Medalist in UIL Number Sense and Calculator Applications, and ranked ninth nationally in the WordWright Challenge Contest. Hayoung’s leadership is evident as UIL Academics Team Secretary, previous Spanish Club officer, Songs for Seniors Treasurer, and Vice President of Weather Club. He is also active in Student Council and HOSA. Hayoung co-founded the Mission Waco Youth Music Program, founded the Music for Blind Rehab Veterans Program, and he is a Providence Hospital Junior Volunteer. Upon graduation, Hayoung plans to study Statistics and Economics.

Nicholas Smith is the son of Scott and Carol Smith of Woodway. Nicholas is accomplished as an Eagle Scout, AP Scholar with Honor, and National Spanish Exam Honoree. His activities include Track and Field, National Honor Society, and active involvement in Boy Scouts. Upon graduation, Nicholas plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study Physics.


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 three National Hispanic Recognition Scholars, Alex Aragon, Daniel Castro-Dubon, and Victoria Logan.

Alex Aragon is the son of Pandi Vanhouten of Woodway and Adam Aragon of Woodway. Alex is an Eagle Scout, 5th in nation for Software Engineering Team (BPA), and three-year recipient of the Spirit of Midway Award for volunteerism. He is active as President of Political Science Club, Head Section Leader of Alto-Saxophones in the MHS Marching Band, Officer of Business Professionals of America, and member of National Honor Society, MHS Jazz Band, and UIL Academics. His community activities include Boy Scouts, Venture Scouts, and Waco Youth Symphony Orchestra. Alex plans to pursue a degree in political science, computer science, or history.

Daniel Castro-Dubon is the son of Abel and Fany Castro of McGregor. Daniel is an Academic All District football player and two-time varsity football letterman on the offensive line. He also competed in varsity powerlifting and track and field. Daniel is active in the First Woodway Youth Group. Upon graduation, he is considering attending Texas A&M University to major in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in business, or Baylor University to pursue a doctorate in cardiology.

Victoria Logan is the daughter of Joseph and Veronica Logan of Waco. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction, National Spanish Exam Honoree, and Spirit of Midway Award recipient. Victoria competes on the Varsity Soccer Team, and remains active as secretary of Robotics, and member of National Honor Society and Spanish Club. Victoria volunteers at Mission Waco and the Humane Society. She plans to study Biomedical Engineering at Baylor University or UT Dallas.