Kyle Planck, who will graduate from Pickerington High School North next weekend, recently wrapped up an already decorated senior year by earning a National Merit Scholarship.
The National Merit Scholarship Corp. this month announced the approximately 8,300 U.S. students who've been awarded $2,500 scholarships based on their academic abilities, skills and accomplishments.
Among them was Planck, son of Tim and Lisa Planck, who is set to graduate with his classmates from North June 1.
At that ceremony, he will be recognized as one of North's Decem Decori, a designation given to the 10 students at the high school who have the highest cumulative grade-point average.
The National Merit Scholarship will provide Planck with financial assistance as he attends the University of Notre Dame next fall, where he plans to study chemical engineering.
Last week, Planck said he felt fortunate to receive the competitive scholarship.
"My Merit scholarship was underwritten by the Parker Hannifin Foundation, a division of the Parker Hannifin Corp., a company that produces various engineering products and solutions," Planck said.
"When I found out that I had been awarded a scholarship, I felt very excited and blessed that I was deemed worthy of this great honor."
The scholarship tops off a scholastic career for Planck, which was highlighted by several academic and extracurricular feats, including last winter when was selected to the Ohio Music Education Association's All-State Band from a pool of approximately 750 applicants statewide.
Planck also is a member of the North's Drumline, National Honor Society, Sunny Side Up, student council and Team Physics.
The waning days of his senior year last week found Planck still busy working both to finish strong academically -- he was engrossed in study for advanced placement tests -- and continuing to put in time and earning extra money at his part-time job at Kroger.
All the while, Planck said, he was trying to appreciate the final days of high school, and he reflected about his family, teachers and friends.
"As graduation draws near, I find myself full of mixed emotions," he said.
"I'm extremely excited for college, but I am definitely nervous about the new environment it will present.
"I can't believe that I will soon be done with high school for good," Planck said.
"I'm pretty nostalgic. So, I often think back to memorable and special moments that I've experienced with my friends and classmates.
"I would like to express my sincere thanks to each and every person who has helped me along the way, especially my parents and teachers," Planck said.
"I couldn't have done it without you, and I'll be sure to make you proud."
In addition to work this summer, Planck said he's excited to spend time with friends before leaving for college. He also was looking forward to a planned family vacation to Costa Rica.
From there, it will be on to Notre Dame. He's prone to moments of school pride already, frequently declaring, "Go Irish!"
He's also eager to begin an education which he hopes will instill in him tools to help improve the lives of others.
"I plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering," Planck said. "Chemical engineers are involved in a variety of specialties, but I'm interested in the pharmaceutical industry.
"So, I hope to find a career involving that somehow.
"I've always had an affinity for science, but I decided to study engineering because engineers take scientific principles and use them to solve the world's problems and help people.
"The idea of using what I've learned to make people's lives better has always appealed to me," Planck said.