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Four Named as National Merit Semifinalists

September 12, 2019

Four Dripping Springs High School seniors have been selected as National Merit semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program:  Johnny Dollard, Cameron Duran, Christopher Gearing, and Jessica Heintz. Semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, and were the highest scoring students on the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. To become a finalist, a student must have an outstanding high school academic record, be recommended by the school principal, and submit SAT scores that confirm his/her earlier qualifying test performance. The index score in the state of Texas (which is how students qualify) was at an all-time high. Finalists will be announced in February 2020.


JOHNNY DOLLARD:  The son of Luellyn and Stanley Dollard, Johnny has been named to the All-State Band for three consecutive years as a trumpet player. A member of the National Honor Society, he is a founding member of Dripping Springs High School's FIRST robotics team. he plans to major in mechanical engineering but has not yet decided on a college.


CAMERON DURAN:  The daughter of Erin and David Duran, Cameron Duran is the co-founder of the student organization, Society of Pain and Chronic Illness. She is a producer for the Tiger Daily News (video newscasts) and is interning with ANC Sports in the area of digital media technology. Cameron plans to study engineering or technology in college, but is undecided on a destination.


CHRISTOPHER GEARING:  The son of Aldine and Bruce Gearing, Christopher has been involved in numerous organizations and has achieved notable success in speech/debate and Youth in Government. He is a two-time state qualifier in Policy Debate and was a quarterfinalist in 2018; he also was a state qualifier in Congress Debate for the Texas Forensics Association. He was honored as an Academic All-American by the National Speech and Debate Association. Christopher was a state qualifier in Mock Trial through the YMCA as a lead attorney and served as president of the Youth in Government club. He also has been a member of National Honor Society, Principal's Student Advisory Council, DSHS Rotary Interact Club, Winter Drumline, Student Council, and he founded the school's official UNICEF club. Christopher hopes to double major in political science and international relations with a desire to attend law school; he is undecided on a college.


JESSICA HEINTZ:  The daughter of Juntao and Steven Heintz, Jessica is head drum major for the Tiger marching band this year and twice has earned all-state band honors on the clarinet. She is a member of National Honor Society, HOSA, and the district's School Health Advisory Council. She plans to major in chemistry but has not yet decided on a college.