Senior twins named National Merit Scholarship Finalists


submitted photo.

Story by Peyton Sims and Taylor Bayonne

Within the past week, two hard working students at Texas High were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments. Senior twins Jenna and Kate Woodard have both been named National Merit Scholarship Finalists. 

The Woodards are among 7,600 finalists for the scholarship. In October, the two were named semifinalists along with 16,000 other students. The pool of students that the scholarship committee first looked at numbered 1.5 million applicants so the Woodard’s academic success stands out as particularly exceptional. 

“It’s a really big accomplishment,” Jenna said. “It’s a lot of recognition for how hard we’ve been working so far, and I think it’s really cool that I’ve achieved this out of so many people who took the test and could have qualified.” 

What makes this achievement even more remarkable is, of course, the fact that there will now be two finalists under one roof. This is especially impressive when there are rarely more than a few finalists in every town, and the Woodards certainly worked hard to get where they are. 

“We had to study really hard for the PSAT but then also there was an application after we got our scores back,” Jenna said. “I had to write an essay, get teacher recommendations and work really hard to present myself as the best [candidate] for the National Merit Scholarship Association.” 

After being selected, they will now compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered in the spring. But beyond this, National Merit Scholar Recognition can help in a variety of ways. 

“A lot of schools will give you a scholarship outside of the National Merit Scholarship,” Jenna said. “It’s not necessarily in association with them, but you still get money for that accomplishment.”

Behind the Woodards and each of their promising futures is a strong support network. 

“Our parents have been my biggest supporters,” Jenna said. “My mom helped me read through all the essays to make sure that we were all on top of it and that I was doing what I needed to to get my applications done. My dad’s also been one of my biggest cheerleaders, so he likes to brag.”

While some siblings may feel the need to fight to the top and compete, the Woodard twins have a different outlook on their success. 

“We definitely have that sibling rivalry thing that everyone has, but that’s pushed us to be better,” Kate said. “It’s not so much competition as it is just like striving to be better, individually.”