Four Irving ISD seniors have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation as Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Ahmad Ahsen and Jonathan Roman of MacArthur High School and Lilla Fancher and Levi Seymour of Irving High School are among 34,000 students nationwide to receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic accomplishment.

Being recognized as a Commended Student is an honor given annually to outstanding students who achieve exceptional scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who took the qualifying test in January 2020.

Learn about each of Irving ISD’s Commended Scholars below:


Ahmad Ahsen, MacArthur 

For Ahmed Ahsen, the honor is the result of the hard work and dedication he’s devoted to his studies.

“It’s a testament to the last three years of grinding on school work,” he says. 

Although he hasn’t yet selected a college, his top three choices are Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin and John Hopkins University, where he will study psychology.

“I have always been interested in psychology,” he says. “I have family members who have these types of diseases, which is what triggered my interest in this field. I want to help.”

At MacArthur, he has competed in UIL computer science, been involved in the National Honor Society and serves as a volunteer tutor. 


Lilla Fancher, Irving

Throughout her high school career, Lilla Fancher has garnered a variety of choir-based accolades. She says being named first chair in the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Choir is one of the awards she is most proud of. Coupled with that is the honor of National Merit Commended Student. 

“It’s proof that I’m smarter than I think,” she says. “It’s me proving to myself that I can be more intelligent than I think and to not underestimate myself.”

In addition to choir, Fancher has competed in Academic Decathlon and UIL Literary Criticism throughout high school.

After graduating, she will pursue a degree in vocal performance or library science. She would love to attend college out of state – perhaps New York University – but she is also considering Texas State University. 


 Jonathan Roman, MacArthur

Jonathan Roman is the youngest of three siblings. His brother is 10 years older and his sister 6, and he recalls being in the car line waiting to pick them up and counting to 100 by 2’s on the odd number, as a preschooler.

“I’ve always liked numbers,” he says.

Roman plans to pursue that interest as an engineering major at Texas A&M University next fall. 

A MacArthur legacy (his mom graduated from MacArthur), Roman was born and raised in Irving, attending Lee and Townsell elementary schools and Houston Middle School. 

He plays the French horn in the school’s band but has also picked up the piano and saxophone. Roman is also an Eagle Scout. Now he can add Commended Scholar to his list of accomplishments.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for your achievements,” he says. “Any recognition is good, as long as it’s in a positive light.”


Levi Seymour, Irving

Last year, Levi Seymour and a couple of his friends started the Game Design Club at Irving High School. Next year, he hopes to take this talent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study computer science.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the inner workings of technology,” he says. “I’d love to work for an IT department to help others do their job as well as they can.”

In addition to the Game Design Club he founded, Seymour has also competed in academic decathlon throughout his high school career, earning first place in his division at regional competition. 

For him, the honor of Commended Student is foresight to future success.

“It means that I did very well, and it is a good indicator that I’ll be able to continue doing well,” he says.