SOMERS — When Riley Fee started high school, he put some thought into what to make of his four years at Shoreland Lutheran High School in Somers. He focused on finding joy.
“I’ve known people who really didn’t like their professions and have had a tough time,” said Fee, now a senior. “I really looked to my future and knew that whatever I did, I would want it to be something I would enjoy. The only way to get there, to open up plenty of opportunities, was to do well in school.”
So, that’s what he did.
And, now in his final year at Shoreland, those opportunities are already at his feet. Like about 1.5 million other high school students looking ahead to college, Fee applied for the National Merit Scholarship Program. This fall, he made the semifinalist cut — a distinction earned by only about 16,000 who apply to compete. Qualifications are made by calculating PSAT college entrance scores taken by students in their junior year of high school. The top students move on with a chance to earn a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship and a distinction that elite colleges seek out.
For Fee, those colleges might be Harvard University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Those would be enviable spots to land, Fee said, but he has not quite decided where his college applications will ultimately be submitted.
“It’s up in the air,” he said. “College is really expensive, and I will want to get the best for the money.”
But one thing is for certain — Fee is destined to study science.
For all four years at Shoreland, Fee has been in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy at the school, fueling a love he developed in eighth-grade when for four months his class studied the process of growing plants at Zion Lutheran School in South Milwaukee.
“I enjoy learning about the way the world works,” said Fee.
A career in chemical engineering or astrophysics would give him that joy he sought as a freshman.
His love for science may have been nurtured by his parents. His father is an engineer and his mother a teacher. His older sister also landed in the scientific field and is studying organic chemistry.
But his interest catapulted when he met Timothy Mielke, one of Fee’s teachers for three years at Shoreland.
“He is really encouraging and really smart,” said Fee. “He always seems to help when you need it. Mr. Mielke is someone I look up to. Someone I would want to be.”
Mielke returned the compliment.
“Riley’s growth mindset, his desire to serve, his intellectual ability and the overall impact that he has had on this campus make him a standout student,” said Mielke. “I am so proud of him and his accomplishments. I cannot wait to see how God continues to fulfill His good plans and purpose for Riley in the years to come.”