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Belton ISD Seniors Achieve National Academic Honors

Belton ISD has nine seniors recognized this year through the National Merit Program and the National Hispanic Recognition Program. Students had tops performances on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) during their junior year.

National Merit Scholars

“Shining the spotlight on each of these exceptional students is important. Their individual accomplishments on the PSAT are impressive,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Robin Battershell. “Their success exemplifies the District’s focus on stretching our highest achieving academic students and our mission to provide an education that challenges all of our students to excel.”

Belton High School senior Joshua Bledsoe and former Belton High School student Rohan Sami were named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. To qualify as a National Merit semifinalist, Bledsoe’s and Sami’s high scores on the PSAT placed them in the top 1 percent of more than 1.6 million students who took the test last fall. As the next step in the scholarship competition, Bledsoe and Sami will submit essays, recommendations and additional test scores to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Joshua Bledsoe is the son of Trey and Christie Bledsoe. Joshua is president of the Engineering Club, a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, and ASTRA. He is the lead photographer of Tiger Media, a Prom Committee Leader, and serves as an audio/visual leader at his church. Joshua also sings and plays in the church band. Upon graduation, Joshua plans to attend Rice University or MIT to major in bionanotechnology.


Rohan Sami is the son of Padma Venkata Sami. Rohan moved out of state for his senior year, however while attending Belton High School, he participated in tennis, served as treasurer of HOSA, and played the saxophone. Upon graduation, Rohan plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M University and major in biochemistry with a minor in mathematics, with the goal of becoming a cardiologist.

Belton High School seniors Sydney Hunt, Dean Biava, Gayathri Devi Thirunavukkarasu, and Euni Wu were named National Merit Commended Scholars for 2019. Ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation for their scores on the PSAT, these students are among 34,000 selected as commended students out of 1.6 million who took the test last fall.

*Dean Biava is the son of Desmond and Evelyn Biava. Dean participates in varsity tennis, UIL academics team, National Honor Society, and is the Vice President of Key Club. Upon graduation, Dean plans to attend Texas A&M or Rice University to major in biomedical engineering. 

Miranda Davila is the daughter of Ben and Heather Davila. Miranda plays softball and is a member of the National Honor Society. Upon graduation, she plans to attend Abilene Christian University and pursue a career in pediatric medicine.

Sydney Hunt is the daughter of Cortney and Alicia Hunt. Sydney is president of National Honor Society and is a member of UIL Academics and varsity choir. In her spare time, she plays piano for a local nursing home and tutors younger students. She has also been the recipient of a Rotary Youth Leadership Award. Upon graduation, Sydney plans to attend Texas A&M University or Georgia Institute of Technology to major in industrial engineering and minor in neuroscience.

Gayathri Devi Thirunavukkarasu is the daughter of Thirunavukkarasu Krishnamoorthy and Sornagandhi Jagadeesan. Gayathri participates in UIL Academics, HOSA, and serves as the vice president of National Honor Society. Upon graduation, she plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University or University of Texas to major in engineering.

Euni Wu is the son of Fengfei Wang and Erxi Wu. Euni participates in UIL Debate, UIL CX Debate, and is a member of the Tiger cross country team. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend the University of Texas, Caltech, Harvard, or MIT to major in engineering.

Commended Scholars

The College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program identifies academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students who score in the top 5,000 from over 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT. Belton High School seniors Dean Biava*, Miranda Davila, Gabriela Hansen, Jonah Jimenez, and Elizabeth Moctezuma-Manzanero have earned the distinction as a Hispanic Scholar for 2020.

Gabriela Hansen is the daughter of Paul and Martha Hansen. Gabriela has run cross country for three years, is a member of National FFA, National Honor Society, Key Club and ASTRA, and also participates in UIL Academic. Upon graduation, Gabriela plans to attend Texas A&M University to major in biomedical sciences with the goal of a career in veterinary medicine.

Jonah Jimenez is the son of Raymon and Amy Jimenez. Jonah plays varsity football for the Tigers and is a member of National Honor Society, Youth Advisory Commission, and Kiwanis Key Club. Upon graduation, Jonah plans to attend the University of Texas or Rice University and major in engineering.

Elizabeth Moctezuma-Manzanero is the daughter of Ruben Moctezuma and Silvia Moctezuma. Elizabeth participates in Chamber Orchestra and UIL Orchestra, as well as dance. She is a member of the National Honor Society Prom Committee, Belton High School Bible Study Club, and serves as the Astra Project Coordinator. Upon graduation, Elizabeth plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin or Cornell University and major in fiber science and apparel.