Photography by Katie Kinsley

Intellectually Competent- One of the six profile items of a Jesuit graduate, and, many would argue, the most important of the six.  Jesuit is known for the incredible academics it provides, however, this academic dominance oftentimes is overshadowed by the success of sports and extracurricular activities that occupy a wide variety of Jesuit students’ time.  Two weeks ago, though, all of this changed as Jesuit held a ceremony to celebrate and honor the Jesuit seniors who have earned major achievements on the PSAT and their respective AP exams.

On October 25, Jesuit recognized 157 AP scholars and 21 National Merit/National Hispanic Recognition Program recipients.  17 of those AP Scholars were National AP Scholars,

meaning they scored an average of greater than 4 on all their AP exams, and they had a score greater than 4 on 8 or more exams.  While a large number of those students were seniors from the class of 2017, the class of 2018 made up an immense portion of this group as well.  These numbers are incredibly impressive and an honor for both Jesuit as a school and the student recipients.  We spoke to a few of them to get their comments on the ceremony and their accomplishments.

Since this was a ceremony of celebration for the students, we decided to ask them three questions about their award and their thoughts on the ceremony.  We asked:

  • What Award(s) did you get selected for?
  • Do you feel your awards accurately reflects your intelligence and the effort you’ve out into academics in High School?
  • How did you feel when you were being recognized with your Jesuit brothers at the ceremony?

Here’s what the students had to say:


Giovanni Rivas (’18):

I was selected for the National Merit Commended Scholar award.  I personally don’t feel that these tests necessarily measure intelligence, as I feel that intelligence is best shown and reflected in other ways. However, the National Merit award definitely reflects my effort in the past three years at Jesuit.  I was actually late to the ceremony. Well, I was perfectly on time. I didn’t know I had to be at the ceremony, so I was meeting with a teacher as it began and I found out I had to be there when the ceremony was already well in. I hurried to Hughes Hall, and I entered as my name was called, so it was quite the smooth entrance. Once I was at the ceremony, though, being recognized alongside my brothers made me feel honored, not just for myself, but for all of us. It was rewarding to see our effort and hard-work being recognized and it is just as rewarding to be able to support many of my brothers for their hard work and effort. We have struggled and worked through three full years so far, and having this effort recognized at the start of this last and equally difficult year is very motivating and uplifting.


Connor Thomas (’18)

I got selected as a National Merit Semifinalist and AP Scholar with Honor. It was certainly an honor to be recognized formally by the school on Wednesday for these accomplishments, and it was amazing to see just how many Jesuit guys also achieved very high honors. I think I heard somewhere that this might have been a record breaking year! It was interesting, though, to see who did and didn’t get certain awards. For example, I got National Merit Semifinalist, but I know of two other guys who had the exact same overall score as me who didn’t get to be semifinalists. I think that it was because of differences in our reading and math scores, but why that would affect your ability to be selected is beyond me. Still, it was great to see so many people come and show their support. Many faculty members and parents were at the ceremony.


Nico Elizondo (’18)

I got selected for the National Hispanic Merit Scholar Award.  I do believe that these awards accurately reflect most of my intelligence and the efforts I’ve put in, but there is so much more to intelligence and effort than just one test. I know I might’ve received this award, but I have many friends who are also very smart and work extremely hard (some even harder than me) who did not receive this award just because of their performance on one test, which in my opinion is sad. For the most part, this test (the PSAT) only proves how good you are as a test taker (how you cope with stress and minimal time to take it), but I do agree that some amount of common knowledge is needed to be able to answer these questions correctly, which is why I believe this award accurately depicts MOST of my intelligence and efforts, but definitely not all.  Truthfully speaking, I think the most special part of the entire ceremony was the support from my Jesuit brothers. Not only were all the other award recipients there supporting me and everyone there, but the entire basketball team was there, hollering and cheering for every single one of us who got an award, which in my opinion was very special.


Garrett Scott (’18)

I got the National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. I definitely believe that my award reflects the hard work and devotion I’ve put into my studies. Sadly, I couldn’t attend the ceremony because I was up on an official visit to Dartmouth.


Noah Johnson (’18)

One was a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar,

and the AP Scholar with Distinction Award.  I feel like they accurately reflect my efforts in classes.  I was pretty excited to receive the rewards and extremely satisfied with getting more than one. It was a neat experience when the statistics for each class were read in regards to how many Jesuit students won awards from say, the class of 2016 and overall.


Jared Butler (’18)

I was selected for AP Scholar with Distinction, National Merit Commended, and National Merit Hispanic Scholar.  I hate to be one of those guys who brags about my successes in school, but I really do love learning; it’s nice to see your work come to fruition, I guess.  It was really awesome just how many of us there were up there, and how there were people from all different walks of life and all different communities at Jesuit–sports, theater, etc. The ceremony served as a poignant reminder that, when I walk the halls of Jesuit, I am truly surrounded by the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.



These students represent some of the brightest of Jesuit’s senior class.  This ceremony provided the opportunity for the Jesuit community to recognize and honor these students for their commitment to their Jesuit education.  Their devotion, as Butler (’18) said, has cemented these students as the “innovators of tomorrow.”  Let us all take a moment to recognize these students for their accomplishments.


Semifinalists – Top 1% of 1.6 million National PSAT test takers

Connor Thomas

Evan Hargrave


Commended Scholars – Top 2% of 1.6 million National PSAT test takers

Jared Butler

Austin Gilbert

Christopher Horton

Christopher Reynders

Giovanni Rivas

Tyler Shea

Harry Whiting

Ethan Williams

Nicholas Wilson


National Hispanic Scholar – Top 2% of Hispanic PSAT test takers

Christopher Bryan

Jared Butler

Nicolas Elizondo

Noah Johnson

Michael Miramontes

Giovanni Rivas

William Scott

Anthony Valdes

Nicholas Villareal

Andrew Wright

John Zevallos


AP Scholar With Distinction – Students who receive an average of 3.5 on their exams and scores of 3 or higher on 5 or more exams

Jared Butler

Noah Johnson


AP Scholar With Honor – Students who receive an average of 3.25 on their exams and scores of 3 or higher on 4 exams

Jacob Carlson

James Cuaderas

Ryan Davis

Jacob Dewa

Alec Hanson

Alexander Jeanis

Anirudh Kantareddy

Ethan Lee

Michael Miramontes

Sean Tehan

Connor Thomas

Daniel Vanamerongen

Nicholas Wagner

Joseph Wong-Vermillion


The Roundup welcomes members of the Jesuit community to post comments that foster respectful and intelligent debate regarding published articles. Comments to published articles will be accepted under the following guidelines:

  1. The author of the comments includes his or her name; no anonymous comments will be published.
  2. The author of the comments is a recognizable member of the Jesuit community.
  3. The author of the comments responds respectfully to the writer, without resorting to personal attack or other invective.