Runnels | Independent School, Baton Rouge


Senior Named National Merit Semifinalist


Senior Aubri Watts has been named a Semifinalist in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program, and Eric Ho, also a senior, has been recognized as a National Merit Commended Student.

As a Semifinalist, Aubri remains in the program to compete for Finalist standing and the opportunity to vie for more than $31 million in scholarships to be awarded in the spring. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors qualify as Semifinalists. Finalists will be announced in February. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the group of Finalists.

Though Commended Students do not continue in the competition, they do receive Letters of Commendation from the National Merit Program recognizing their outstanding academic promise. They also may become candidates for special scholarships from businesses and corporations. 

Aubri and Eric have had distinguished high school careers. Both are AP Scholars, Honor Roll students, and Writing Center tutors. Aubri, who appeared as "Chip" in last winter's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, is a member of the Thespian Club and has been in every high school play since tenth grade. She is a past winner of the Holocaust Essay Contest sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge, president of the National Honor Society and the Gay-Straight Alliance, and a first-place winner at State Rally. After graduation, she plans to study design at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Eric, a Runnels student since first grade, was a Judge's and Student's Choice winner in this year's Spring Art Show. His artwork also was selected for the 2019 Real Life Experience Juried Art Show held at the Baton Rouge Gallery. He serves as president of the Runnels chapter of the National English Honor Society, co-president of Mu Alpha Theta, and a board member of the Student Ambassador’s Club. As a winner of the 2019 DEMCO Essay Contest, he took an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. this summer.  A senior class representative and a member of the Runnels Cross Country team, Eric is also a lion dancer with the Southern Lotus Lion Dance Association. In addition, Eric is a volunteer in the Burn Unit at Baton Rouge General Hospital.  He plans to study cellular biology or biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin or Baylor University after graduation.

Aubri is the daughter of Dr. Amanda Watts and Neal Watts, and Eric is the son of Brian Ho and Nguyen Le.