Midway National Merit students

Midway High School had 12 National Merit honorees (from left): Nathaniel Hejduk (Semifinalist), Nicholas Smith (Commended), Haeun Moon (Semifinalist), Hayoung Moon (Commended), Killian McNeil (Commended), Daniel Castro-Dubon (National Hispanic Scholar), Timothy Bang (Commended), Gawon Jo (Semifinalist), Victoria Logan (National Hispanic Scholar), William Heston (Commended) and Alex Aragon (National Hispanic Scholar). Not pictured is early graduate Michael Buwalda (Commended).

Midway High School had 12 students recognized through the National Merit Program, and three seniors are named National Merit Semifinalists.

Midway’s National Merit Semifinalists are Nathaniel Hejduk, Gawon Jo and Haeun Moon.

Nathaniel Hejduk is son of Matthew and Julia Hejduk, of Woodway. Nathaniel is an AP Scholar with Distinction, WordWright champion with highest national honors, National Spanish and German Exams honoree, and first alternate to the 2018 TMEA All-State Choir.

Nathaniel is active as National Honor Society vice president and is a member of the Spanish and French clubs. His community activities include volunteering at Caritas and Habitat for Humanity, church youth group Leadership Crew and Waco Civic Theatre. Nathaniel’s graduation plans include studying computer science at Rice University.

Gawon Jo is the daughter of Jangho and Hwasun Jo, of Hewitt. Gawon is an accomplished artist in visual arts, piano and writing; she advanced to state competition in PTA Reflections, Scholastic Art and Writing (two years), UIL Ready Writing, and TMTA piano competition (three years).

She plays piano as a church accompanist, as well as in competitions and lessons. Her leadership skills include serving as German Club president and speech and debate captain. She is active in National Honor Society, Spanish Club and Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE).

She has earned the Spirit of Midway Award in volunteerism for her service at the Mayborn Museum and Hewitt Public Library. Gawon plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania as an English major.

Haeun Moon is the daughter of Sojung and Sungho Moon, of Woodway. Haeun has received national accolades as a violinist. She is the Music Teachers’ National Association National First Prize winner, National YoungArts Foundation winner for classical music, was featured on NPR’s “From the Top,” student artist at Juilliard’s Starling-Delay Symposium on Violin Studies, grand-prize winner of the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, TMEA All-State Orchestra concertmaster, and associate concertmaster of National Youth Orchestra USA.

Haeun is also a three-year National Spanish Exam gold medalist, National AP Scholar and four-year Spirit of Midway award recipient for volunteerism. She is active as president of the National Honor Society and Songs for Seniors, is a member of Student Council, Spanish Club and UIL academics, and the co-founder of the Mission Waco music program as well as Music for Veterans, and a volunteer at Talitha Koum Institute and Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Upon graduation, Haeun plans to pursue international relations.

National Merit Finalists will be named in February 2019.

Commended Scholars

Six Midway High School students were named National Merit Commended Scholars, ranking in the top 5 percent of the nation: Timothy Bang, Michael Buwalda, Will Heston, Killian McNeil, Hayoung Moon and Nicholas Smith.

Timothy Bang is the son of Seung and Grace Bang, of McGregor. Timothy is an AP Scholar with Distinction, National French Exam honoree, National Latin Exam honoree, and first alternate for the 2018 TMEA All-State Choir. Timothy’s graduation plans including enrolling in Rice University to study political science.

Michael Buwalda is the son of Gary and Michelle Buwalda of Lorena. Michael is a National Honor Society inductee, Northwest Optimist Scholarship recipient at McLennan Community College, and is active with Antioch Community Church. Michael played football at Midway before graduating at the end of his junior year with the class of 2018. He is attending MCC, with intentions to transfer and pursue a journalism degree.

William Heston is the son of Jim and Jodi Heston, of Hewitt. Will is an AP Scholar with Honors, National Spanish Exam medalist, National Honor Society member, and Spirit of Midway Volunteerism Award recipient. Will is active as head dection Leader in the Midway Band and is a two-time All Area Band qualifier. Will hopes to get into Rice and major in science, technology, engineering and math.

Killian McNeil is the daughter of Donovan and Monica McNeil, of Waco. She is the National Gold Recipient in interpersonal communications and two-year president of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). She is accomplished academically as an AP Scholar with Honor, National Honor Society member, and Spanish Club member in AP Spanish 5. Upon graduation, Killian plans to attend Rice University or Texas State University for anthropology, Spanish and communication.

Hayoung Moon is the son of Sungho and Sojung Moon, of Woodway. As first-place winner in the American Protégé International Concerto Competition, Hayoung has performed Carnegie Hall in New York. He was named principal cellist of the TMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra, Waco Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Midway Orchestra. In addition, he is a National AP Scholar, District Gold Medalist in UIL Number Sense and Calculator Applications, and ranked ninth nationally in the WordWright Challenge Contest. Upon graduation, Hayoung plans to study statistics and economics.

Nicholas Smith is the son of Scott and Carol Smith, of Woodway. Nicholas is accomplished as an Eagle Scout, AP Scholar with Honor, and National Spanish Exam honoree. His activities include track and field, National Honor Society, and is active in Boy Scouts. Upon graduation, Nicholas plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study physics.

Hispanic Scholars

The College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) identifies academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students who score in the top 5,000 from over 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT.

Midway’s three National Hispanic Recognition Scholars are Alex Aragon, Daniel Castro-Dubon and Victoria Logan.

Alex Aragon is the son of Pandi Vanhouten, of Woodway, and Adam Aragon, of Woodway. Alex is an Eagle Scout, was fifth in the nation for Software Engineering Team (BPA), and is a three-year recipient of the Spirit of Midway Award for volunteerism. Alex plans to pursue a degree in political science, computer science or history.

Daniel Castro-Dubon is the son of Abel and Fany Castro, of McGregor. Daniel is an Academic All-District football player and two-time varsity football letterman on the offensive line. He also competed in varsity powerlifting and track and field. Daniel is active in the First Woodway youth group. Upon graduation, he is considering attending Texas A&M University to major in biomedical engineering with a minor in business, or Baylor University to pursue a doctorate in cardiology.

Victoria Logan is the daughter of Joseph and Veronica Logan, of Waco. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction, National Spanish Exam honoree and Spirit of Midway Award recipient. Victoria competes on the varsity soccer team, and is secretary of robotics, and a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Club. Victoria volunteers at Mission Waco and the Humane Society. She plans to study biomedical engineering at Baylor University or UT-Dallas.

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