MacArthur High School has plenty of reasons to celebrate! This week, the school recognized five students for receiving national level honors.

Seniors Nancy Jimenez, Macie McKee and Saraswati Stocksdale were named National Merit Commended Scholars, while Jimenez, Michael Espinoza and Liliana Michelle Gonzalez earned College Board Recognition Program Scholar designations.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes students who scored in the top 3 to 4 percent in the state on the PSAT. 

“This honor has given the validation that all of my hard work and rigorous classes have paid off and are helping to prepare me for college,” says McKee. “It is also an honor to be recognized for my dedication and effort.”

McKee is a three-year member of the Cardettes, the school’s drill team, serving as captain this year. She is also vice president of SkillsUSA, where she competes in an engineering design competition every year. She also participates in UIL Academics Literary Criticism and is a member of the National Honor Society. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, playing the violin, reading and spending time with friends and family. McKee plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, and then either starting her career or returning to school to further her education with a master’s or doctoral degree in the same field. 

“I want to use my degree to work on experimental technology in cellular and tissue engineering, or biomaterials and bio fabrication,” she says.

For Stocksdale, the honor came as a surprise. But those who know Stocksdale can attest it is well deserved. 

“I am really happy to receive this honor,” Stocksdale says. “I honestly had not expected it, and I feel like a lot of hard work has paid off.”

Stocksdale’s school involvements and hobbies mainly center around art, participating in the VASE competition, helping with window paintings and painting the set pieces for the musical. 

“With art, I like to experiment with new mediums and usually gravitate towards painting,” Stocksdale says. “I also love to bake, write, play the occasional video game, and lately I have taken up gardening to an extent. I have about 21 plants in my bedroom right now that have been keeping me company during quarantine. Mostly I just like to explore new things and I always like picking up random skills like sewing or wood carving.”

Stocksdale plans to pursue a career in psychiatry.

“It is my goal to go to medical school and possibly pursue an MD/PhD in scientific research as well,” Stocksdale says. “No matter what happens in terms of graduate school, I want to be working somewhere in the mental health field, whether it is counseling, research or both.”

Jimenez earned status as both a Commended Scholar and College Board Recognition Program (CBRP) Scholar, which also recognizes students who have excelled on the PSAT and in the classroom. She plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in psychology on the pre-med track.

Espinoza participates in choir, student council, the superintendent advisory board, cross country and the STEAM Club. He enjoys reading, singing, making beats from time to time, pondering topics that intrigue him and spending time with family. After graduation, he intends on enrolling in a university that heavily focuses on their research program but also has a solid music department. 

“I am extremely blessed to receive this honor,” he says of being named a CBRP Scholar. “The opportunity to showcase my skills, and then be recognized for it, it means so much to me.”

Liliana Michelle Gonzales also received CBRP Scholar honors.