Chandler-area H.S. students up for prominent award


Great Hearts Academies and local public school districts recently announced Arizona high school seniors have been selected as 2023 National Merit Finalists.

These students have been recognized as one of the 15,000 highest-scoring applicants among the 1.5 million entrants.

Ian Miranda, a senior at Great Hearts Chandler Prep Academy, is a finalist.
Great Hearts Academies is a non-profit network of tuition-free K-12 charter schools that has more than 20 locations all over the Valley.

Miranda was selected for and participated in the TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy last summer and the Qubit by Qubit’s Introduction to Quantum Computing program. He is also the captain for a local Robotics team outside of Chandler Prep.

Miranda was admitted into Arizona State University’s Barrett and is still awaiting decisions from Cal-Berkeley, Columbia, Duke, and several other schools he applied to before he makes his decision on where he will be attending school in the fall.

Arizona College Prep High School has 18 finalists this year. They are Alyssa Ackerman, Defne Aydin, Sophia Berg, Kevin Chor, Humza Chaudhry, Abigail Goon, Jordan Hill, Raine Huang, Mason King, Alex Kroumov, Justin Lee, Giovanni Lopez, Stevie Ortiz, Caitlin Patarakun, Vahini Patel, Devangana Shah, Carter Smith and Sonny Vakkalanka.

Basha High School has six finalists: Cameron Bautista, Varad Chapalgaonkar, Ava Curry, Nathan Fuller, Kevin Li and Ellen Wamsle.

Other Chandler-area finalists include Sahir Jahan and Joshua Shunk of Perry High School and Taran Mayer of Chandler High School.

Through mid-June, NMSC notifies about 7,250 finalists that they have been selected to receive one of three types of Merit Scholarship awards. These cover anywhere from $2,500 to renewable four-year award sums.