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Merkel named Hall HOBY Award recipient

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 1:47 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 1:50 p.m. CDT

HALL — Jake Merkel of Ladd has been named the 2013-2014 recipient of Hall High School’s HOBY Award.

Merkel, a sophomore, will attend a state leadership seminar this summer at the University of Illinois with other HOBY Award winners from around the state. HOBY stands for Hugh O’Brian Youth Association.

Throughout a three-day seminar, Merkel will interact with key leaders in media, politics and business in Illinois. Students attending this seminar will have the chance to ask these individuals questions and hear their plans for the future. HOBY representatives will also have the chance to speak with various representatives from different colleges. The weekend ends with a banquet and show, and the parents are invited to attend.

Merkel is the son of Mark and Shelli Merkel. He has been active in football, basketball and baseball. He has volunteered for Relay for Life. He was selected by his faculty and peers. The faculty nominates students for the honor. The top four names of nominees are then presented to the sophomore class to vote. The faculty and students vote according to the following criteria: outstanding oral/written communication skills, critical and/or creative thinking, creative problem solving, strong decision-making skills, sensitivity to the needs of others, charismatic personality, courage to speak out for one’s beliefs, courage to challenge authority and community service.

The Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program began in 1958 inspired by conversations with Dr. Albert Schweitzer. The program has grown with sophomores attending one of the 89 seminars held throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico in 1998.

The HOBY seminar is a national program exclusively for high school sophomores. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2013-2014.

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