Senior Michael Wolf was the only Saline High School student among 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists announced in September.
(Photo by Heidi McClelland)
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
Several Saline High School seniors earned commended student honors in the 2017 National Merit Program. They are Charles Bellinger, Aidan Carichner, Emma Dester, Manasa Dittakavi, Jackson Gregory, William Kinningham, Victoria Monge, Theodore Nowicki, Brendan Owens and Bao Phan.
Here’s more about National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist Michael Wolf.
Parents: Jeff and Sherri Wolf
Favorite subject: Math
Why? Mathematics has always intrigued me. Unlike other classes, it doesn’t involve memorization of arbitrary facts or developing a skill over many years. Instead, it revolves around understanding concepts and applying them in different ways to solve problems. I have always preferred problem solving and working with numbers to my other schoolwork, and I still do today.
College/Career plans: Engineering
Inspiring teacher: Nate Lampman
Why? I’ve had Mr. Lampman as my band teacher in school and my director in marching band every year of high school, and I can say confidently that he is an outstanding example of a great mentor and leader. He pushes each of his students to give their all, whether they are seniors like myself or freshmen just learning the ropes. He also gives his students a lot of responsibility in both his class and marching band, and expects them to follow through. Although he is very busy and has over 200 students, he connects with each of his students, which I consider a very important aspect of leadership. As a respectful, knowledgeable, and friendly teacher who loves his job, Mr. Lampman is certainly a teacher I look up to.
How much time do you spend each week on homework/studying: About four hours every school night plus eight hours on the weekend. Some weeks are far worse, some are far better.
At what age did you realize you were a smart student? I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a “smart student” any more than I would any other student. I credit my success in school to having dedication to my schoolwork and a desire to do my absolute best — values my parents instilled in me back in elementary school.
To answer the question better, though, it was around middle school when I started to really succeed in school, even when I felt swamped with schoolwork. This was when the late nights of homework began, and the classes, especially advanced math, began to take school a step further. However, I kept pushing myself to do my best, and in doing so set a precedent for the rest of my school career.
When you've had a long day and just want to call it a night or watch TV, what drives you to finish your school work?
Most of the time, getting all my schoolwork finished every day is just habit, because it’s something I’ve done my entire life. When I get especially stressed or tired, however, I think of my long-term goals, such as going to a strong engineering school or working in the aerospace industry, and this drives me to keep working.
What sports do you play? I’ve played Varsity tennis since my sophomore year, and I played on JV my freshman year. In the winter and spring, I play intramural Ultimate Frisbee. Last year I also joined the track team.
What other extracurricular activities are you involved in? I am a student leader on the Saline High School Robotics team, which I joined as a freshman. I have been in the Boy Scouting program since I joined Cub Scouts in first grade, and I am currently on the verge of achieving the Eagle Rank. I enjoy a number of musical extracurriculars, including Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, and Jazz Band, in which I play trombone. I am also a member of the NHS.
What do you think about being a national merit scholarship semifinalist?
I am very honored to represent Saline High School as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist, and I am proud to see my schoolwork earn me such an award.