Waco, TX – Midway High School students have a legacy of outstanding performance in standardized testing, ranking above both state and national averages on both the SAT and ACT. This year’s seniors are no exception. Five students have received notice of recognition through the National Merit Program including a lone National Merit Semifinalist, three National Merit Commended Scholars, and two National Hispanic Scholars. Finalists will be named in February 2020.

Congratulations to Midway High School’s National Merit Semifinalist, Amilia Warkentine. Amilia is the daughter of Angie and Brian Warkentine of Hewitt. She is a National AP Scholar, earning a perfect score on her ACT and highest scores possible on all 11 AP tests. She has also earned honors from Midway Teacher Recognition Awards, Midway Panther Pride Awards, and the National Spanish Exam. Amilia’s activities include Science UIL, officer of the Midway Spanish Club, Midway High School National Honor Society, Mandarin lessons, junior volunteer at Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest, and assistant teacher at Kumon of Waco. Upon graduation, she plans to study physics.

Commended Scholars are Stephen Bender, Ivy Koh, and Matthew Stamey.

Stephen Bender, son of Kimlyn and Trudy Bender of Woodway, is a National AP Scholar with Distinction, Debate Captain and TFA State Debate Semifinalist. He is accomplished in music through his involvement in Meistersingers and playing piano, earning a Superior+ Rating in the WMTA Piano Festival. Stephen participates in National Honor Society, Youth Leadership Committee at FBC Waco, and as a volunteer at the Mayborn Museum. He plans to pursue degrees in math fields upon graduation.

Ivy Koh, daughter of Yunsuk Koh and Hyunjung Lee of Woodway, is the UIL CX Debate State Top Speaker Silver Gavel recipient, National AP Scholar, UIL Solo and Ensemble State Division I, and National Spanish Exam Medalist. Her accomplishments are accompanied by leadership roles as Varsity Speech and Debate Team Captain, Spanish Club Vice President, Student Council Officer, Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, and President of “Music for Heroes” at the Doris Miller Veteran Affairs Medical Center. Ivy’s volunteer activities have earned her recognition as a National Congressional Award Silver Medalist and 3-year Spirit of Midway Volunteerism Award for her work with the Hewitt Public Library and tutoring elementary/intermediate students. Ivy plans to study biochemistry in college.

Matthew Stamey, son of James and Anndrea Stamey of Woodway, is an AP Scholar with Distinction earning highest scores on all AP tests and a perfect ACT Score. He is also a two-time National Spanish Exam Medalist and three-year Spirit of Midway Recipient. Matthew is a member of National Honor Society, a three-year All-Region Choir member in Chamber Singers and Meistersingers, and serves as a Spanish Club Officer. Matthew also serves on the tennis court. He has played Varsity Tennis all four years earning four district team championships, two doubles championships, and placing first-team All-District three years. He is also a Waco Tennis Association volunteer, Waco Tennis Special Olympics Volunteer, and works tennis clinics for Ridgewood Country Club and USTA events. Matthew plans to pursue Baylor Business Fellows after graduation.

Amilia Warkentine, along with Michael Cuenca, are National Hispanic Scholars.

Michael Cuenca, son of James and Adriana Cox of Woodway, and Jairo Cuenca of Syracuse, is a National Hispanic Scholar, QuestBridge Prep Scholar, and College Board AP Scholar with Distinction. Michael is actively involved as President of National Honor Society, member of the Spanish National Honor Society, Student Council, Spanish Club, and Mountain Biking Club. He also played Varsity Soccer for three years and select soccer since fifth grade, including leading as captain of the team for five years. Michael is an active volunteer for The Salvation Army, “Really Big Fishing Event for Really Special People,” Keep Waco Beautiful, and Antioch Community Church youth groups and mission trips. Upon graduation, Michael plans to pursue a degree in engineering.

Midway ISD congratulates these students for their commended and semifinalist titles. These students individually and collectively showcased their academic excellence this past school year and continue to shine in their extracurriculars, which is a testament to their own hard work, their families, and teachers.

About the Awards:

50,000 students with the highest PSAT/NMSQT scores are categorized into two groups: Commended and Semifinalists. Commended students make up about 30% of the highest scores and receive letters of recognition. Commended students become eligible for Special Scholarships. Semifinalists have the top scores in their state and qualify to become finalists for the National Merit Scholarship. The finalist selection will be decided in February 2020.

The National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes Hispanic/Latino students who score in the top percentile of their state or region for the PSAT. Colleges may individually choose to offer scholarships to those recognized by NHRP.  


Photo L to R: Matthew Stamey, Ivy Koh, Amilia Warkentine, Michael Cuenca, Stephen Bender