Rowland Hall student from Park City named National Merit Scholar
In the middle of end-of-year exams, Jake Bleil still paused to celebrate when he got the good news. He was named a National Merit Scholar.
Bleil, a Park City resident and senior at Rowland Hall, was one of 24 students in the state selected for the honor, and the only Park City student to be recognized. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation awarded $2,500 to 2,500 Merit Scholars from around the country. Scholars are chosen for their strong academic performance, according to a press release.
Bleil intends to use the funds as he heads to Princeton University, where he plans to study engineering.
He said it felt nice to be recognized for the work he has put into his education over the years.
A committee made up of college admissions officers and high school counselors chose the scholarship recipients. They considered students’ academic records, scores from two standardized tests, their leadership in school and community activities and recommendations written by high school officials.
More than 1.6 million students entered the running for the scholarships, and 16,000 were named semifinalists. Six Park City students made it to the semifinalist round.
Bleil said he chose Princeton not only for its strong engineering program, but because it has a growing music program as well. He plays the double bass, and he plans to keep playing it while in college.
“That’s another one of my big passions that I have done since I was 7, 8 years old,” he said. “It’s a place where I could both focus on engineering and do music and it wouldn’t be a huge hassle. I wouldn’t have to pick between one of the two.”
Bleil said the school supports cross-disciplinary studies, which is important to him, too. For his final project in his math class, for example, he is combining geometry and music.
He said he is eager to continue his learning at Princeton, and he hopes to one day use his multidisciplinary knowledge to engineer a product that will make a difference in the world.
“If I can make something 20 years in the future that is actually going to help people, that would probably be the dream come true,” he said.
A Parkite who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 13 is giving scholarships and internships to three first-generation graduates from PCHS.