3 Bryant students named National Merit Scholar semifinalists

Three Bryant High School students, from left, Kevin Weng, Rachel Beza-Juarez and Charles L. Mortensen, recently learned that they were named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.
Sarah Perry
Staff Writer

Three Bryant High School students were recently named National Merit Scholar semifinalists.

These students — Kevin Weng, Rachel Beza-Juarez and Charles L. Mortensen — have big goals for their lives.

Kevin Weng is a member of the school’s Quiz Bowl team and the Mu Alpha Theta Club.
Weng said he has applied to attend Arkansas Tech University, but he plans to apply at other schools as well.

He plans to study computer science and engineering.

“At this moment in time, my goal is to attend a four-year university after graduating high school. Ideally, I would create inventions and write code that could change the world. Realistically, however, I want to pursue computer programming and be successful enough to live a comfortable life,” Weng said.
In his free time, he plans to begin volunteering at Saline Memorial Hospice after completing the required training.

Weng lives with his parents and sister, but majority of his family live in China.

Rachel Beza-Juarez is involved in Best Buddies, Partner’s Club, National Honor Society, Mock Trial, Student Senate and yearbook.
Beza-Juarez said she is undecided on what college she will attend but is considering the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She plans to major in the science field with a possible focus on pre-medicine.

“While I know that I want to major in the science field because science has always fascinated me, I’m not exactly sure what my exact occupation will be,” Beza Juarez said. “However, with whatever job I choose, I hope that through it, I will be able to make an impact on other people’s lives. One of my goals in life is to help other people out in whatever way I can. I hope that I can make a helpful contribution to the world and to the lives of every person I encounter.”

She is the daughter of Jannett and Carlos Beltran. She also has two siblings — Kassey Beza-Juarez and Carlos Beza Juarez.

Charles L. Mortensen is involved in National Honor Society and the Legacy of Bryant Band.
In his free time, Mortensen enjoys volunteering at Family Church of Bryant. He is involved in various children’s ministry programs.
He plans to attend either Texas A&M or the University of Arkansas to study aerospace engineering.

“I would like to become a commercial airline pilot,” Mortensen said. “I hope to receive enough money in scholarships that I can afford to get my pilot’s license before college graduation with some help from my parents or if I am able to get money over tuition and fees.”
Mortensen is the son of Aleisha and Charles Lloyd Mortensen. His sister, Olivia Mortensen, 12, attends Bryant Middle School.

In September, about 16,000 students are notified that they have qualified as semifinalist. In February, some 15,000 semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided certificates to present to each of the finalists.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which was established in 1955, conduct the National Merit Scholarship program annually. The program is an academic competition for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships.

Since its founding, the corporation has recognized more than three million students and provided more than 426,000 scholarships worth more than $1.7 billion.