St. Al senior is National Merit Finalist

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 15, 2015

ACADEMIC SUCCESS: St. Aloysius student Jacob Kitchens is a National Merit Scholar Finalist.

ACADEMIC SUCCESS: St. Aloysius student Jacob Kitchens is a National Merit Scholar Finalist.

Each year 1.5 million students apply to the National Merit Scholarship Program, but only one percent of them are selected as National Merit Finalists.

Warren County is home to one of those students, Jacob Kitchens, a senior at St. Aloysius High School.

The National Merit Scholarship Program seeks to identify and honor academically talented high school students and to stimulate increased support for their education.

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St. Aloysius Principal Jules Michel said the school typically has a National Merit Finalist every two or three years.

“(Kitchens is) an outstanding, all-around good student,” he said. “He’s just an unbelievable young man. His dedication to academics, athletics, his community and his values is phenomenal.”

Kitchens said students first take the PSAT, a test given by the schools, and students who make a certain grade will advance.

“You then have to take the SAT, write an essay and go through a pretty rigorous application process,” he said. “The essay prompt was an issue you had and how you resolved it, so I wrote about one of the hard things my robotics team and I had to overcome.”

The distinction means a lot, Kitchens said.

“I was really excited and it’s going to help with scholarships and getting into college,” he said. “I have narrowed it down to two schools, MIT and State.”

Kitchens said he plans to major in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or aerospace engineering.

“I want to thank my school and my family and all the extracurricular activities I do,” he said. “I think I’ve been made by my environment, and I think being on the robotics team has helped me a lot with the problem solving schools I’ve used to do well on these tests.”

Jacob’s father, Steve Kitchens said his son is a very well-rounded person.

“I am very proud of Jacob, not only for making National Merit Finalist, but also for all he has done in robotics and the math and science team and football,” he said.

Jacob’s mother, Teresa Kitchens said Jacob has been a very easy kid.

“He’s always been very intrigued and always wanted to learn as much as he possibly can,” she said. “He’s very self-motivated and interested in mechanical things and how they work.”

Teresa said Jacob always sets his goals very high and he is typically very successful in whatever he chooses.

“He’s going to go far,” she said. “It will be interesting to see where he goes and what he chooses to do.”

Jacob’s mother said he is very close to his eight-year-old brother, Joshua, who is also very proud of his big brother.

“I’m really going to be sad when he goes to college,” he said. “I’m very proud of him, and I just want him to have a good college and a good life.”