Merit Scholars

Three Lufkin High School seniors were nationally recognized for their scores on the SAT/NMSQT. At left, Alex Hill was recognized as a National Merit Commended Scholar. At right, Cy Murphy and Hilda Cuello Gonzalez were recognized in the National Hispanic Recognition Program.

One Lufkin High School senior was recently named a Commended National Merit scholar and two seniors were named National Hispanic Recognition Program scholars.

Senior Alex Hill earned the title of commended in the National Merit Scholarship Program along with 34,000 students out of more than 1.6 million students across the nation.

Hilda Cuello Gonzalez and Cy Murphy earned recognition in the National Hispanic Recognition program with 5,000 other students out of 400,000 Hispanic/Latino students.

These students earned their titles based on their scores in the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the National Merit Qualifying Test.

The students said it was pretty exciting to receive this recognition.

Cy will be attending Angelina College to play baseball, Hilda hopes to attend Baylor University to become a pediatric nurse and Alex hopes to attend Georgetown University for foreign service.

Family support had a lot to do with her motivation, Hilda said.

“For me, it was my mom,” Hilda said. “She’s always pushed me to try my best, work my hardest, and I thank her for everything.”

Surrounding himself with high-achieving friends motivated him to get to the same level and work hard, Cy said. His parents also always supported him and pushed him to get better, he said.

A friendly rivalry with his sister, who was also a commended scholar, helped, but it all comes down to focus, Alex said.

“When you’re in that room, it’s all about keeping on topic in your brain,” he said.

In addition to their academics, the three are involved in several extracurricular activities. Alex is involved in theater, the president of the Thespian Club, in choir and in National Honor Society.

Hilda is in band, robotics, Animation Club, Art Club, National Honor Society and Ignite. Cy is involved in baseball, National Honor Society, KISSED and Drug-Free All-Stars.

Time management was a key challenge that Cy said he had to overcome.

“It was difficult, but I got used to it,” Cy said. “Other students who have been there and teachers who have taught me time management skills have helped me.”

“Learn to manage your time wisely,” Hilda said. “You’re likely going to be involved in extracurricular activities, so learning how to balance both activities and academics is important. I’ve kind of had to do that the hard way, but it all works out. Just take one thing at a time.”

One challenge Hilda faced was people not believing in her capabilities to succeed based on things like racial or religious affiliation.

“That’s just encouraged me to try even harder, as well,” Hilda said.

To reach academic success, Alex recommends focusing and working to understand the importance of things like the SAT.

“Don’t blow it off,” he said. “It’s all pretty important now. You’ve got to realize the magnitude of what you’re doing at this point.”

“Challenge yourself,” Cy said. “Don’t settle for just being on par with everyone. Push yourself to be better.”

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.