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If you would like to be featured on our Merit Alumni page, please email a short bio with your NAME and GRADUATION YEAR to Nichole McDaniel at 

Or, click on link and complete Merit Alumni Survey. Thank you! Mrs. McD. 

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Happy Merit Students

"Hands down, Merit is the best program to be in at Lakewood High School. Everything about yourself, academically, will improve. Your classes will be filled with students who are serious about school, and they will motivate you to become a better student."

Maura Raquel Ponce, Class of 2017

UC Davis, Animal Science Major

Merit Alumni

Always Updating-


Noah Reid- UCLA

Graduated student now attending collegeClass of 2015: I am  currently a junior at UCLA working on a Classics major while also finishing the pre-Med requisites. I am involved with Mentorship, a club that allows me to be a mentor to kids in elementary school, middle school, and high school. I also am a part of the UCLA Cheese Club, where we meet up to eat and try awesome new cheese. Additionally, I am very active in my fraternity Sigma Nu and recently joined the executive board for the Interfraternity Council in order to keep Greek Life in high standing on campus. Merit Scholars helped me be prepared for college by providing AP classes that were an excellent foundation for intro classes in college. 

Cesar Mena, UC Berkeley


Student at political protest

"Merit Scholars  introduced me to what rigorous college courses would be like. Though they are slightly less rigorous than actual college courses, they allowed me to develop good study habits and test taking strategies. It also connected with amazing teachers who helped me choose both my current  major and university. Lastly, it allowed me to be in an environment where I was surrounded by people who all wanted to learn and many of those people I met through Merit Scholars have become my best friends." Photo; Shapiro Protests at UC Berkeley  (Merit Scholar, Class of 2017)

Trish Do, UC Irvine


My name is Trish Do and I am a Class of 2017 Merit Scholars Graduate. Merit Scholars gave me the opportunity to meet some of the best people I have ever met, from friends to teachers and mentors. The pathway allowed me to challenge myself while gaining credits for college that allowed me to get a quarter ahead, and instilled in me the basic skills I needed to transition into college. During my time at Lakewood, I balanced multiple AP classes, multiple clubs, and an after school job my senior year. I was involved in Link Crew, Make-A-Wish Club, AP Ambassadors Club, and held an officer position in One World Club from my sophomore year all the way to my senior year. Through the AP Ambassadors Club, I held an after school job tutoring other students in any area of need three days a week. With all the extra curricular activities, I was still able to stay on top of my work and graduated with a 4.5 GPA and highest honors. I am currently attending UC Irvine with a major in Criminology, hoping to go into the Forensic Science field after I graduate. Though the Merit program did make me want to cry and pull my hair out at times, I owe much of my success and life long friendships to the pathway.


Huntyr Nicole Ford,Study Abroad-Madrid, Spain

Girl in letter jacket

Being a part of Merit Scholars and participating in one of the strongest academic pathways at LHS has shaped who I am today as an individual. Entering ninth grade at LHS I chose to rise up to the challenge and become a Merit Scholar when some of my friends and teammates chose less rigorous pathways. During my high school years, I was not only in this rigorous pathway, but I was also involved in sports teams and clubs on campus. Having to balance a strict academic course load and extracurricular activities helped me better understand time management and the importance of setting priorities. Sometimes it was tough to maintain my practice schedule, participate in clubs and academic prep programs, and maintain a high GPA, but it was worth it. You can't always take the easy way out, or do what everyone else is doing. Sometimes, that meant sacrificing a little of my social life or idle activities, but I still enjoyed my high school experience to the fullest, especially senior year. I strongly recommend taking advantage of AP classes and trying to pass the AP test because at the end of the day it's going to be worth it. As I entered college, I was able to bypass basic freshman courses due to my academic performance in high school. In addition to that, I qualified for and was awarded multiple academic scholarships at 4 year universities and community organizations. Merit Scholars is one of the best academic pathways to join if you are ready and focused on creating a better future for yourself. Teachers and counselors are there to support you and want nothing but the best for you. I strongly recommend becoming a Merit Scholar. 


A Merit Alumni 

Huntyr Nicole Ford c/o 2017

High Honors Graduate (3.92 GPA)

Natalia (UCLA), Mario (CSULB) & Isabella (UCLA) Peres

3 grads with diplomas

My name is Natalia Peres (left)  and I am a Lakewood High School and Merit Scholar alumni graduating in the class of 2017.The Merit Scholars pathway gives students the opportunity to take rigorous courses and push themselves to work hard. It creates a community with students who enjoy school and want to learn new things. The merit scholars teachers are the best on campus and will help you with anything you need under any circumstance. With all the work that was given in all my classes I was able to be a part of many clubs such as Calculus Club, Soccer Club, Link Crew, NHS, CSF, and SHARP. I also played on the girls soccer team for 4 years at Lakewood. After my four years at Lakewood, I graduated in white with a 4.52 GPA and I now attend the University of California, Los Angeles.  I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in  Entrepreneurship. I would like to thank everyone a part of the Merit Scholars program who helped me have a successful high school career and shaped me into the person I am today. The Merit Scholars pathway is the best program that Lakewood High School has to offer and highly recommend it for students who want to work hard and eventually go to college. 


Hi my name is Mario Peres (middle)  and I am a part of the graduating class of 2017. I spent my time at Lakewood as a Merit Scholar and I can honestly say it’s the best program at Lakewood. I met so many different people that made my years at Lakewood the most memorable. The teachers are the best, they might give you a lot of work sometimes but it’s all worth it in the end. I’m currently studying at Cal State Long Beach to become an engineer and Merit taught me what it takes to be a hard worker and an even better student.


Hello, my name is Isabella Peres (right) and I was also a part of the Merit Scholars pathway while attending Lakewood High School. Merit Scholars is a program in which students have the opportunity to prepare for the rigors of college while also cultivating an environment of students that are pragmatic and hard working. Alongside the Merit Scholars program, I played on the girls soccer team for four years and participated in an assortment of clubs: Link Crew, Calculus Club, NHS, CSF, Merit Club, Soccer Club, AP Student Ambassadors, and SHARP. The Merit Scholars pathway helped me achieve my goals of graduating high school and going to college. I graduated from Lakewood in 2017 as one of the valedictorians with a 4.7 GPA and I am now attending the University of California, Los Angeles. I am majoring in Neuroscience and following the Pre-Med track. I would like to thank all the great teachers and counselors that are involved in Merit Scholars pathway and I hope that everyone who has a chance to be a Merit Scholar decides to join!


Hannah Vasquez, UC Irvine

Smiling Grad girl

Lakewood High School's Merit Scholar Pathway was extremely beneficial to me in earning college credit and preparing me for rigorous college courses. I am extremely thankful for all of the wonderful teachers in the Merit Program who have invested their time and effort into my education. They truly demonstrate their passion for our success. My counselor, Mr. Anderson, was a huge asset to my success in helping me every step of the way. I recommend the Merit Scholar Pathway to everyone who attends Lakewood High School because it is truly worthwhile! I graduated in white with a 4.48 GPA and now attend UC Irvine in the Nursing program. I was very involved at Lakewood playing volleyball for 3 years and being a part of various clubs including CSF, Lending Hands, One World, Student Ambassador, and Calculus Club.

Kyle Bresnahan, Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo

My name is Kyle Bresnahan and I am a graduate from Lakewood High Class of 2017. I now attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a word of advice I leave to all those scholars at Lakewood is to stay on top of the reading, studying, and homework! The only limiting factor to success is one's mindset. Go after what you aspire to be in life and don't let anyone get in your way. As cheesy as this sounds, a little motivation is all you need, adversity will come; adversity is satisfying after you surpass it. Mr. Glover, Mr. Clark, and Ms. Teran, I miss you all and thank you for preparing me for the lifestyle I have easily adapted to. As for the Best Buddies program, I miss you guys (Gabe, JOJO, Bryce, and Benjamin)! Go Wood!Male student leaning on tree

Allison Busch, University of Redlands

Grad in front of school sign

I'm Allison Busch and I am a Lakewood High School Salutatorian and Merit Scholar Graduate from the Class of 2017.   The Merit Scholars Pathway was a great choice for me as I was able to take classes, with outstanding teachers, that left me well prepared for the rigor of college courses.   Despite a heavy academic workload, I was still able to participate in many other activities as well, including playing Volleyball and being a part of the Merit Club, Calculus Club, CSF, NHS, SHARP, and Link Crew.  I graduated with a 4.7 gpa, began college with a number of credits as a result of the AP tests I was able to take, and earned numerous athletic and academic scholarships and awards.

I am currently attending the University of Redlands, majoring in Biology and Pre-Med/Pre Health and minoring in both Chemistry and Math, while playing Volleyball as well.  I want to thank all of my Merit teachers (especially Mr. D and Mrs. O'Halloran) and our counselor, Mr. Anderson, for the wonderful support they gave me during my 4 years at Lakewood!  I would highly recommend the Merit Scholars Pathway for anyone who wants to make the most of their high school experience and has aspirations of attending college after graduation.