Four Summit School of Ahwatukee Alumni Qualify as 2013 National Merit Semifinalist


Summit School of Ahwatukee congratulates 2010 graduates Marissa Patel, Kelsey Harrison, Nora Mencinger, and Bomi Johnson who are now part of the prestigious and elite group of 2013 National Merit Semifinalists.

“Often high schools of 2,000 to 3,000 students have at most only a handful students earn this distinction. For Summit to have four students in a graduating class of 29 is exemplary,” exclaims Head of School, Patrick O’Brien. “We are clearly proud of these graduates, and of the caliber of our teachers and curriculum.”

Marissa Patel - resized for Facebook

Marissa Patel, a Summit valedictorian, attends Xavier Preparatory High School. She aspires to attend an Ivy League school and becoming a doctor. Her weighted GPA of 4.5 indicates that her dream will likely become reality.

 “At Summit I discovered my love for learning,” exclaims Patel. “The middle-school years really helped to prepare me for my high school experience. Through the broad curriculum and engaging teachers, I was able to create a strong foundation for the wide-range of subjects taught in high school. The close-knit bonds made during my eight years at Summit allowed me to have the confidence to face the larger environment of high school. I am incredibly thankful for the liberal arts education as it has shaped who I am today!”

 Who Patel is today is a very busy and accomplished leader. She is a member of Xavier’s Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society, National Honors Society, Quill and Scroll Honors Society, Unity in Diversity Club, a Student Ambassador, a sprinter on Xavier’s track team, and the current Editor-in-Chief of the school yearbook. Additionally, this year Patel and sister Monika created the first Xavier / Brophy Hope-a-Thon event: a cancer fundraiser walk for the City of Hope, to benefit cancer research and patient treatment.

Kelsey HarrisonKelsey Harrison, also a senior at Xavier, received Summit’s 2010 Sabre Cat Award which recognizes enthusiasm, service, attitude and academic excellence. The award proved to be given to the right person as Harrison still volunteers in Summit’s preschool summer camps. Also an accomplished guitarist, she began taking lessons with Summit’s middle school music teacher Dr. Chris Dorsey, when she was 5, and remains a student of his today.

At Xavier, Harrison continues her legacy of service as the Spanish Club president, and an active member of The National Honor Society, Key club, Spanish National Honor Society, the Diversity Committee, Leadership Council, and the Academic Decathlon team.  Additionally, she is a teacher’s assistant for AP biology and AP chemistry. She is an AP scholar with distinction and has won awards related to the National Spanish Exam.  She began Spanish as a student in Summit’s preschool. Amidst all this Harrison has earned a 4.5 weighted grade point.  Harrison exclaims, “Summit is a great community and the teachers are amazing.  Because of Summit I was well prepared for advanced classes at Xavier.” 

Nora MencingerNora Mencinger, who will graduate from Mountain Pointe High School, hopes to attend MIT, combining her passion and abilities in science and math.  “I’m interested in going out of state as it will be a rich and hopefully rewarding new experience,” explains Mencinger. Her weighted grade point of 4.83 will likely have MIT anxious to have her enroll. When asked what influence Summit had on her education she shared, “Summit teachers provided a culture of encouragement and of always trying your best that prepared me very well for my successes in high school and beyond.”

Bomi Johnson Bomi Johnson, who will graduate from Desert Vista High School, is an accomplished musician on the piano and flute. She has won many awards for both instruments and has performed with numerous groups, including the Phoenix Youth Symphony, the American String Teachers Association National High School Honors Orchestra, the Arizona All State Band, and North Central Region Orchestra, and the National Honor Band of America. Johnson also runs with the Desert Vista Cross Country team and has leadership positions with the Desert Vista National Honors Society, Desert Vista STAND Club and is a member of the Model United Nations, Desert Vista Symphony Orchestra.

Giving her time and talent to the community is also important to Johnson, who volunteers at the Desert Botanical Garden, as a docent, camp counselor, and special events. She is also the president of the Melodic Minors, a charitable organization which consists of high school musicians in the Phoenix area, who play for various events, including musical fundraising for the Phoenix Youth Symphony.

 This is the fifth Summit graduate to earn this distinction.  2008 Summit graduate Brett Reardon was a National Merit Finalist. He was co-salutatorian of his 8th grade class at Summit. Brett Reardon