RPA's Jason Schwartz was one of 26 Oregon students who received the scholarship

COURTESY PHOTO - RPA 2018 graduate Jason Schwartz received the National Merit Scholarship.Renaissance Public Academy student Jason Schwartz has been named a National Merit $2,500 scholarship winner. He was among 2,500 winners (26 in Oregon) of the prestigious award from a pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists.

"I am just thrilled to receive it and grateful of course to my family and all the educators that really formed me to the point that I would be able to even think of receiving such an honor," Schwartz said. "I'm excited."

Schwartz began his high school career briefly at Blanchet Catholic School before transferring to RPA. He completed his high school coursework in three years.

During that time he was a 4.0 student, National Honor Society member, Junior Classical League chapter president, Oregon Regional Junior Classical League president, debate club member at Blanchet, flutist in the Marion County Citizens Band and participant in the University of Dallas's Latin in Rome program last summer.

"We are very proud of him and feel fortunate to have played a part in his education," said Cheryl Goodson, RPA student success coach.

According to a National Merit Scholarship Corporation press release, the National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Scholars were selected based on academic records, scores from two standardized tests, contributions and leadership in school and community, a recommendation letter and an essay.

Goodson wrote the letter of recommendation, in which she primarily described how Schwartz models all of the school's eight pillars of character.

"Jason embodies every single one of those traits," Goodson said in the letter. "He shows respect to everyone in our community by his kind and gentle behavior. I have never heard him speak a harsh or critical word to or about another person."

Schwartz said that he wrote his essay about his experience in the University of Dallas Latin in Rome program, with a focus on the ancient Roman concept of pietas, a term Schwartz believes is best translated "natural justice—proper relationship with one's family, country and God," he said. He said the essay was strongly influenced by the concept of the Transcendentals—the good, the true and the beautiful. He said that philosophy of education came to him through his classical education at RPA and at his grade school.

"I should emphasize that I owe most my National Merit application to Renaissance Public Academy—even the activities that RPA did not directly offer were often influenced by my education and the philosophy of education that I developed through its classical model," Schwartz said. "Naturally, all my educational merits are largely thanks to RPA; I cannot overstate its importance in my receiving this scholarship, in choosing a college, in most of my plans for the future."

Schwartz will attend the University of Dallas in the fall, where he intends to major in classics and philosophy.

He has other scholarships coming his way, including Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship from Silverton Elks Lodge, Sister Mary John Morriss OSS Scholarship from Roman Catholic Challenge and a University of Dallas Classics Departmental Scholarship for $14,000.

Kristen Wohlers
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