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Two Belton ISD Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

BELTON, TX – Two Belton ISD seniors have been selected as a semifinalist in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program.

Maheshwari Rajesh, from Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow, and Matthew Salazar, from Belton High School, earned the recognition for their top performances on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) taken their junior year. Their scores placed them in the top 1% of more than 1.5 million students who took the test last fall.

“The dedication these students have put into their studies to earn this designation is tremendous” said Superintendent Matt Smith. “I am proud of their hard work and proud that they are being recognized for their efforts.”

As the next step in the scholarship competition, Rajesh and Salazar will submit essays, recommendations and additional test scores to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Maheshwari Rajesh is the daughter of Manjula Kalyanasundaram and Rajesh Ramamurthy. She is a member of Student Leadership Council, representative for Chamber Orchestra, vice president of the National Honor Society and plays for the varsity tennis team. Maheswari hopes to attend the University of Texas and study psychology and creative writing.

Matthew Salazar is the son of Steve and Susie Salazar. He is a member of the National Honor Society and participates in UIL Academics where he has won medals in math and current events. In his free time, Salazar enjoys playing guitar. He is undecided on his college plans but is considering attending Rice University or the University of Texas to study architecture.

Eight other Belton ISD seniors were named National Merit Commended Scholars for 2022. Ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation for scores on the PSAT, these students are among about 34,000 selected as commended students out of 1.5 million who took the test last fall.

The district’s Commended Scholars include:

Jackson Belobrajdic is the son of DJ and Lindsay Belobrajdic. The BHS senior participates in orchestra, UIL Academics and the National Honor Society. He also competes in the history fair competition and volunteers with ASTRA, a community service organization that partners with Altrusa of Temple. Belobrajdic is currently undecided on his college plans.

Aditi Bhat is the daughter of Sanjay and Nandita Bhat. The New Tech senior plays violin in the Belton Chamber Orchestra. She serves as senior co-council of the Student Leadership Council and participates in the National Honor Society. Bhat plans to attend the University of Texas and pursue a career in medicine or global health.

Madeline Fournier is the daughter of Richard and Cara Fournier. The BHS senior is a member of the varsity soccer team and junior varsity cross country team. She serves on the Student Council and is treasurer of the National Honor Society. Fournier plans to study aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University.

Anuraag Jha is the son of Biresh Kumar and Swasti Jha. The BHS senior is a member of the  National Honor Society and the school’s orchestra where he serves as a social officer. He also competes on the tennis team, with UIL Academics and at the National History Day Fair. He would like to attend the University of Texas or Rice University as a pre-med major.

Andrew M. Johnson is the son of Chris and Kelli Johnson. The BHS senior is a member of the National Honor Society and a trumpet section leader in the Marching 100. He received the Academic Excellence Award each of his four years in high school. Johnson hopes to attend either Baylor University or Texas A&M University and study aerospace engineering.

Krithika Rajesh is the daughter of Manjula Kalyansundaram and Rajesh Ramamuruthy. The New Tech senior is a member of the varsity tennis team, the National Honor Society, and Student Leadership Council. She serves as secretary for the Chamber Orchestra. Outside of school, Krithika likes to sing classical Indian music, create art and is co-authoring a novel. In college, she plans to major in environmental science with a minor in creative writing.

Jackson Reasoner is the son of Brian and Michelle Reasoner. The BHS senior is a member of the school’s Madrigal choir and participates in shows with Academie Musique of Central Texas. He plans to attend Texas A&M University and study nuclear engineering.

Megan Shelburne is the daughter of Theresa Whittington. The BHS senior is a band manager and trumpet section leader. She’s also a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, Quiz Bowl and ASTRA, a community service organization that partners with Altrusa of Temple. Shelburne is currently undecided on her college plans.

Oct. 12, 2021