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Daniel Merk earns full scholarship

Emmaus High School student Daniel Merk recently received a full Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship to fund his college education.

Merk, a senior, received his scholarship in a surprise ceremony in the guidance office at EHS during which three Marines presented him with the award, EHS Principal Beth Guarriello said in a telephone interview recently.

“It was just such an honor to be present for such a special moment,” Guarriello said.

Merk set the scholarship as a goal and worked toward it; completing the application process, attending summer programs, leading the EHS fitness team and working out with Marines.

When Kristen Grim, a counselor at EHS, first met with Merk in his sophomore year he had a goal of entering the military, she said. The scholarship “was a goal for him and he worked very hard to reach that goal,” Grim said in a telephone interview.

Merk will study at Virginia Military Institute.

“He really is a leader, a quiet leader,” Guarriello said of Merk.

The NROTC scholarship provides full tuition, stipends and summer training cruises, according to the website military.com.

“Selected applicants for the NROTC Scholarship Program are awarded scholarships through a highly competitive national selection process and receive full tuition, books, fees and other financial benefits at many of the country’s leading colleges and universities. Upon graduation, midshipmen are commissioned as officers in the Naval Reserve or Marine Corps Reserve,” according to military.com.

Guarriello describes Merk as well-liked and respected by students and staff at EHS.

Grim recalled Merk’s frequent check-ins with her during the application process to make sure she had everything she needed from him.

“He’s been a pleasure to work with; so respectful and so kind and a hard worker, obviously,” Grim said.

“He’s just such a really great kid,” Guarriello said.

And when he saw the Marines in dress uniforms waiting for him with members of his family at EHS recently?

“He got a big smile,” Grim said.

Photo Courtesy of the Merk Family Daniel Merk stands with Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District, at a recent ceremony recognizing his scholarship achievement.