EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Two El Paso Independent School District students are El Paso County’s lone National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced Wednesday.

Deena Al-Dahwi, from Coronado High School, and Anna Dixon, from Franklin High School, are among more than 16,000 semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship program.

Al-Dahwi and Dixon will be competing for 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million.

“The 2021 test was quite challenging versus past papers, and the Texas National Merit cutoff is amongst the highest within the states. Making it to semifinalist is a wonderful reward for the hours of hard work.”  

Deena Al-Dahwi, Semifinalist

Al-Dahwi has applied to the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University.   

“I cried tears of joy. I was so happy that my hard work and worrying finally paid off. I immediately called my mom and dad to celebrate with them, too.”

Anna Dixon, Semifinalist

Dixon is applying to a long list of colleges including Stanford University, UT Austin, Georgia Tech, Caltech and Brigham Young University.

According to EPISD, they traditionally have been one of the few districts in El Paso County with National Merit semifinalists and finalists. El Paso County’s only two 2022 National Merit Scholars were Luke Miller and Samuel Kligman, Coronado graduates who now attend Princeton University.   

National Merit Scholars are announced in the spring.   

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