Students Commended On National Scale

Eight Seniors Earn National Merit Status, Talk About Stress

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Students Commended On National Scale

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Out of the 1.5 million students who take the PSAT every year, only about 34,000 students receive the National Merit commended status. This year out of the 10 WFISD students who received this honor, eight were from Rider. These eight include, Gage Grace, Bonnie Lambert, Carolyn Messer, Dakota Tolleson, Sara Sorge, Bailey Guitierrez, Elleana Majdinisab, and Georgia Dubose.

Some of the commended students say the test caused them stress.

“I get stressed because I always try to over achieve and spread myself too thin,” PSAT commended student Sara Sorge said. “Sometimes I have to take a break and hang out with my friends instead of stressing about school 24/7.”

How students study for the PSAT varies. Sorge said she spent the summer before her junior year “taking multiple practice PSAT tests at home,” so she could get used to the questions and timed sections. Majdinisab spent the summer “reading classical literature” to build her vocabulary and also took practice tests to improve her math skills Other students are different, like Bonnie Lambert who said she didn’t study at all.

Lambert did however attend the 5-day Rider PSAT summer camp that is designed to cover everything a student needs to know about taking the test. It is taught by English teachers Polly Birkhead and Heather Preston and math teacher Lydia Coyle.

“It helped me with my math, which is definitely my weakness,” Lambert said.

Sorge said the camp helped her with her math and also the grammar rules on the test thanks to a list she was given at the camp.

“I think it helps give kids the feeling that they are more prepared, “ Birkhead said. “They’re not as nervous because they know that they have some strategies they can use.”

College and career counselor Julie Johnson said studying isn’t the only thing that helps achieve such high scores. Students should “Take as many pre-AP and AP classes as possible and read, read, read,” Johnson said.

Majdinisab said preparing for the test is essential

.“The people, teachers, and curriculum emulate what one will experience in a college class,” Majdinisab said. “It’s important to know what college is actually like so you wont be unprepared.”

All the AP classes that these students take require time management skills. Some of the National Merit commended students participate in more than seven extra-curricular activities, like Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta, band, and student council. Sorge is the Student council president, NHS vice president of service, crime stoppers president, key club vice president, Spanish club president, Mu Alpha Theta secretary and she also volunteers at P.E.T.S low cost spay and neuter, and Texas Blood Institute .

“Home has become a pit stop because I’m often gone for 12 hours at a time,” Lambert said. “I can’t enjoy my leisure time because I know there’s something more productive I could be doing.”


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