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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 24, 2017

Pekin graduate wins National Merit Scholarship

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jul 06, 2017
Photo by: submitted Nate Kielkopf

PACKWOOD — It’s not every day that one hears about a students who carried a 4.0 grade-point average from kindergarten through 12th-grade or one who has logged more than 100 volunteer hours throughout his or her high school career, all while taking a full load of college coursework; but Nate Kielkopf, a 2017 Pekin High School graduate, did all of that and more, and he recently won a National Merit Scholarship sponsored by Purdue University.

“I’m pretty proud of my accomplishment,” Kielkopf said. “It was a pretty long process.”

Kielkopf said that he worked so hard over the years because “I want to be as prepared as I can be for the next level. High school is just the next step ... I wanted to be prepared for later in life.”

Kielkopf, who plans to study materials engineering and science at Purdue, will have a portion of his pricey tuition covered each year of his enrollment.

“We’re very proud of him. He’s worked very hard,” said Nate’s father John Kielkopf. “He carried a 4.0 all through school, and that includes carrying an extra load taking Indian Hills [Community College] classes. He took science and math classes like statistics. He took college level courses during his freshman year through Kirkwook Community College. He had a lot of volunteer time, and he kept up with cross-country all four years. Purdue will be a great fit.”

John said he credits Nate’s mother, his wife Lori, for giving him a good foundation from the start.

“If there was any person that I would give credit to, it’s his mother. She read to them from a very young age,” he said of Nate and his sister Terra, who is 15 and an honor student at Pekin. “She carries a 4.0, too.”

John said he also credits Pekin Community Schools for both of his children’s success.

Pekin principal Tim Hadley said he’s proud that the school was able to be a part of Nate’s success.

“We are extremely proud and humbled with what he’s accomplished so far,” Hadley said. “We’re really excited about what he’s going to do in the future, and that Pekin has been able to be a part of what’s making Nate an outstanding young man.”

Nate is grateful, too.

“I’d really like to thank both of my parents for keeping me on track with deadlines and informing me about the things I needed to do,” he said. “They have done a lot for me.”

Nate will begin his studies at Purdue in the fall, starting with band camp.

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