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Coronado seniors named El Paso's sole 2022 National Merit Scholars

(CORONADO HIGH SCHOOL – May 11, 2022) – The El Paso Independent School District is home to El Paso’s two National Merit Scholars for the Class of 2022, the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced today.

Two Princeton University-bound Coronado High School seniors, Samuel Kligman and Luke Miller, were announced as El Paso’s two scholars. The students are ranked No. 1 and No. 6 in their class, respectively.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is one of the most prestigious in the country and has awarded more than $1.8 billion in scholarships since its inception in 1955. The program recognizes the country’s top academically talented students with scholarships to the top-rated universities in the country.

“Achieving the designation of National Merit Scholar is one of the highest honors a student can achieve and having two El Paso ISD students be the only in El Paso to reach this milestone speaks volumes about their commitment to education and the level of instruction in our District,” said Superintendent Diana Sayavedra. “I congratulate Samuel and Luke, as well as their teachers and parents, on reaching this milestone.”

Kligman and Miller credited their National Merit Scholar designation to thorough preparation and help from teachers and mentors.

“Over the pandemic, I studied extensively for the PSAT with this scholarship in mind, and I am so incredibly happy that I not only became a semifinalist but actually earned the title of National Merit Scholar,” said Miller, who scored a 1470 on the PSAT and 1570 on the SAT. “It feels like all my hard work is paying off.”

Miller racked up more than $1.3 million in funding for college from both financial and merit-based scholarships, giving him roughly a full-tuition scholarship to the Ivy League school. He plans to major in economics with minors in diplomacy and finance.

“I am incredibly appreciative of the seemingly endless support from my parents, family, friends, and school – I feel so lucky to have so many people rooting for me,” Miller said. “Special shoutout to my truly amazing counselor, Mrs. Arias.”

In addition to the $2,500 scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Kligman received the UTEP Presidential Scholarship. He scored a 1480 on the PSAT and a 1520 on his SAT with a 22/24 score on the essay portion.

“The foundation of academic success lies in setting goals,” Kligman said. “I recommend setting ambitious goals so that even if you fail to achieve such goals, you will still put yourself in a strong position to succeed.”

Kligman will attend Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Miller and Kligman are among the 7,500 finalists nationwide to receive the $2,500 merit scholarship. The finalists in each state were judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

“I feel truly honored for the distinction and grateful for the path leading to such distinction,” Kligman said. “I am grateful for my friends, education, and family. I am fortunate for the autonomy I have over my educational decisions.”

Kligman also offered a special shout out to his teachers who guided him and made a difference throughout his high school years.

“I just want to specifically thank Mr. Araujo, Mr. Vergara, Mrs. Capoldi, and Mr. Nelson for being truly incredible teachers whose lessons I will always cherish and be grateful for.”

Story by Reneé de Santos
Graphic by Martín A. López