Akram named schools lone National Merit Semifinalist


Photo by: Austin Pugh

Doing a math assignment during class is Omar Akram. Omar was the schools lone student in advancing in the National Merit process.

When called into the principal’s office most students would be struck with fear, but not this senior.

Omar Akram was called into Principal Ford’s office last April and he walked in with a smile on his face, expecting only the best. Omar was the only student at DHS to be a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist.

“I scored a 232 on the PSAT,” Omar said. “When I found out my score, I was pretty excited because I was expecting to score at least a 200, but I wasn’t expecting to score in the 230s.”

Omar began studying for the SAT four years ago when he first enrolled at DHS.

“I prepared for the test by doing a ton of studying, ever since freshman year,” Omar said. “It took a lot of time but I definitely got better.”

Learning and studying certain test-taking strategies over the years benefitted Omar and helped him through the test.

“The hardest part about the test was that there is a lot of reading and you don’t have much time to read everything,” Omar said. “It’s not like any test I had ever taken before and the only reason that I could even understand it was because of all that practice over the summers.”

As soon as Omar finished his test he was ready to know what his score was. They wouldn’t release the final scores until after winter break so Omar had to make some exceptions.

“I was really anxious to find out my score because I really wanted these scholarships,” Omar said. “So as soon as I saw online that the scores were out, I went to the counselor’s office every single day in December and I kept bothering them to show me. Eventually, the testing coordinator told me that if I wanted to see my score before winter break I had to get a handwritten note from Mr. Ford. Once I did, they finally showed me!”

They announced the National Merit Scholar qualifiers last April. The qualifying students were called into a conference room and Mr. Ford gave them the good news.

“When I found out my score in December, I had assumed that I qualified,” Omar said. “But to hear them announce it was really exciting.”

The National Merit Scholar Semifinalists were announced in September, and he was the only student from Denton High School that qualified.

“Mr. Ford and Mrs. [Renee] Koontz called me down to their office last month and told me,” Omar said. “They were the ones to tell me that I was a semifinalist. My parents were really hoping that I would get the National Merit Semifinalist because after seeing how much I studied, they half expected it.”