Seventeen students from across the U.S. were named as recipients of the 2014 Jerry R. Junkins Memorial National Merit Scholarships at a luncheon at the Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas Thursday.
Named in honor of TI’s late chairman, president and CEO Jerry Junkins, the scholarships are awarded to sons or daughters of active, retired or deceased TI employees who are National Merit Scholarship Program finalists. Since its inception in 1996, TI’s Junkins Merit Scholarship program has awarded 321 scholarships, amounting to more than $1.2 million.
“The Junkins Scholars are not only exceptionally bright, but they are driven with a passion to succeed and to give back to their communities,” said Trisha Cunningham, TI chief citizenship officer. “I have no doubt that the enthusiasm and many talents these students possess, will lead them to great success. TI takes pride in honoring this remarkably sharp and ambitious group of young people.”
The 11 Texas students honored for the academic accomplishments this year are Amelia (Amy) Bogucki of Allen, Lovejoy High School; James Clynes of Allen, Allen High School; Eshan Dabak of Plano, Plano Senior High School; John Devine of Dallas, Lakehill Preparatory School; Roy Falik of Plano, Plano Senior High School; Asma Fares of Murphy, Plano East Senior High School; Thomas Kerwin of Plano, Plano Senior High School; Tiffany Leong of Carrollton, Creekview High School; Cara Santucci of Dallas, Parish Episcopal School; Vincent Shia of Plano, Saint Marks School of Texas; and Katherine Xiu of Plano, Plano Senior High School.
Honorees from other communities include Stephanie Liu of Tucson, AZ, University High School; Margot Mai of Orinda, CA, Miramonte High School; Sophie Russo of Santa Barbara, CA, Dos Pueblos High School; Shuoyang (Jessica) Sun of Tucson, AZ, University High School; Jessica Todsen of Tucson, AZ, Catalina Foothills High School; and Ana Trifonova of Vail, AZ, Cienega High School.
Each year, less than 1 percent of high school seniors nationwide achieve the status of National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist. Students are selected for the awards based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, academic record, leadership abilities, writing skills and extracurricular activities.
TI funds the scholarships in partnership with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a private, not-for-profit organization.
Jerry Junkins became TI's chairman in 1988 and served until his death in 1996. His passion for education helped create model Head Start programs in the Dallas area. He was also chairman of the Citizens Council Education Committee and fought for education reform in Texas schools by promoting measurement and accountability in the classroom. Family members of the late Mr. Junkins presented the awards.
Recipients from Plano ISD
Eshan Dabak of Plano
Eshan will graduate from Plano Senior High School, and he plans to major in business at the University of Texas, Austin. Eshan’s teachers describe him as possessing “a unique personality that is a blend of intellect, quiet conviction and a compassion for others that surpasses even that of many adults.” In addition to his rigorous course load, Eshan found time to participate in band as head librarian and a section leader, as president of the French club, a member of the Spanish club, National Honor Society, and as part of an extracurricular clarinet study where he was selected as “all-region band” and placed in first divisions at solo contests.
Roy Falik of Plano
Roy will graduate from Plano Senior High School, and he plans to major in computer science at the University of Texas, Austin. Academics are his strength, Mensa is his passion and volunteerism is his code of honor. In addition to his highly demanding studies, Roy found time to work as a Tae Kwon Do instructor as well as participate as a student, wining regional competitions; found the only Jewish Scouts branch in Texas; and win awards at the national piano guild.
Asma Fares of Murphy
Asma will graduate from Plano East Senior High School, and she plans to major in computer science at the University of Texas, Austin. Asma is ranked in the top two percent of her highly competitive class of nearly 1,600 seniors, having taken every AP, IB or Honors class offered. A passion for debate, Asma qualified for the Lincoln-Douglas state debate in 2012 and 2013. She also placed third in Prose at the Texas French Symposium, placed first in the district UIL Literacy Criticism and Ready Writing event and served as co-president of her school’s Book Club.
Thomas Kerwin of Plano
Thomas will graduate from Plano Senior High School, and he plans to major in international business at the University of Tulsa. While juggling a challenging academic workload, hours of band and drum line practice as well as a part-time job, Thomas also managed to serve as a photographer, vice president and sergeant at arms with the Young Men’s Service League. He also volunteered for the National Honor Society and participated as a member of his high school student congress and the Heard Museum Photography Club.
Katherine Xiu of Plano
Katherine will graduate from Plano Senior High School, and she plans to major in the biomedical field at Yale University. A highly-driven student, Katherine is first in her class of more than 1,300 students. Through her officer position in her school’s chapter of the National Honor Society, Katherine created and coordinated a peer-tutoring program. She has also served as the public relations officer for the LASER (Science Fair) Club, yearbook coordinator, and she plays violin for the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Katherine is a National AP Scholar, National Chemistry Olympiad Finalist, and she placed fourth in the State Science Fair.