Two students are raising the academic bar at Mustang High School.
Seniors Skyler Cornaby and James Nguyen were selected as semifinalists for the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. The program is a privately funded academic competition that annually awards scholarships to less than 1 percent of the more than 1.5 million students who enter the competition.
Last year, only one Mustang High School student was named a semifinalist in the program.
"Both of them had to take the PSAT as juniors last year," said Kristi Stevens, a counselor at Mustang High School. "This is very prestigious, because in order to even qualify they have to be in the 99th percentile and that pretty much has been in the indicator the past couple of years."
About 1.5 million juniors entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test.
Cornaby scored a 232 on the PSAT and Nguyen scored a 212.
"I was pretty excited when I found out I was a semifinalist," Cornaby said. "I knew that would help open the door for more opportunities, but I also knew I had some work ahead of me."
Nguyen said he was also happy to make the list.
"I was excited because my score was closer to the cut-off," Nguyen said. "I was just happy to have the opportunity."
Both students said they are exploring their options for college.
Cornaby said he is currently looking at the University of Oklahoma along with others in Texas and Utah.
"I am trying to figure out which one has the best scholarships and programs," he said. "I am looking at going into chemical engineering. I want to go into pharmaceuticals as a part of chemical engineering."
Cornaby said his favorite classes at Mustang High School include Chemistry, Psychology and Math and Sciences. He is part of the MHS robotics team and academic team.
His dad, Steve, said he was proud of his son’s accomplishment.
"He didn’t even bother telling me for a couple of weeks," Steve said. "He was looking at colleges and scholarships and just mentioned, ‘Oh, by the way I got a national merit.’ I was very pleased, because he has worked very hard for it and so I was happy that he got that recognition."
Nguyen said he is also looking at OU, along with some universities in California. He said he enjoys European history classes and Calculus and also participates in the academic team.
"I am not exactly sure what I want to study, but something along the lines of pre-med to be some sort of doctor," Nguyen said.