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MSA Students Receive Commended Status from National Merit Scholarship Program
BROWNSVILLE, TEXASOCTOBER 3, 2013 Two seniors at The University of Texas at Brownsville’s Mathematics and Science Academy have been named Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Max Kriegel, 16, and Avery Landin, 16, both of Brownsville, found out about their recognition earlier this week from Dr. Wilma Smetter, MSA Principal. The students are the first from the seven-year-old Mathematics and Science Academy to receive recognition from the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. Kriegel and Landin are now eligible for special college scholarships sponsored by businesses and corporations locally and nationally.
“Both Max and Avery are caring, academically talented students,” said Smetter. “At the Mathematics and Science Academy, they represent the best and brightest of our community. We are excited for the many opportunities that most certainly will come to them due to this national recognition.”
Avery Landin, 17 (left) and Max Kriegel, 16 (right), both juniors at Mathematics and Science Academy at UTBAvery Landin, (left) and Max Kriegel, (right), both juniors at Mathematics and Science Academy at UTB, are the first students in the academy’s history to be among the 50,000 highest scorers on the PSAT in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Kriegel and Landin join about 34,000 students nationally receiving Commended status. The students are among 50,000 high scorers nationally on the fall 2012 administering of the PSAT. More than 1.5 million students nationally took the test in fall 2012. Each state sets its own minimum PSAT score to determine Commended and Semifinalist students.
“I am excited to receive such recognition and enjoy the increased college opportunities provided by it,” said Kriegel. “I am striving to get into Belmont University in Tennessee. But I also understand the importance of scholarships and staying close to family.”
Kriegel has taken the SAT since seventh grade.
“I took it three times before I went to MSA,” he said. “That preparation is probably a reason I got a high score (on the PSAT).”
Kriegel said attending the academy was an interesting opportunity.
“It was eye opening,” he said. “It pushes you to work harder. It’s helpful to have students that care as much as you do about success.”
Landin felt little pressure taking the PSAT. This is because students seeking admission to the academy must take the SAT in their sophomore year of high school.
Landin had the opportunity to shadow members of the academy’s Class of 2012 before gaining admission. She said she enjoys the discipline needed to complete coursework and study.
“I love it here at MSA,” she said. “The people I’ve met here are amazing, my classes are great and I’ve grown so much as a person thanks to this place.”
Landin is undecided about which university she will attend but she wants to one day become a nurse practitioner.
Kriegel and Landin have known each other since kindergarten and were often home schooled together. Before attending the academy, Landin attended First Baptist School and Kriegel was at Coram Deo Classical Academy, both in Brownsville.
For more information on the Mathematics and Science Academy contact Principal Wilma Smetter at 956-882-5727 or


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