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Meet Loyola’s National Merit Semifinalist

In September, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation named senior Charles S. "Charley" Radtke a National Merit semifinalist. The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be awarded in the spring.

The Loyola community congratulates Charley on this wonderful achievement! 



Charles S. “Charley” Radtke
Wilmette Junior High - Wilmette 

“Loyola Academy is a special place,” reflects Charley, an infielder on the varsity baseball team whose impressive list of cocurricular involvement also includes co-founding Loyola’s Spikeball Club, competing on the Math Team as a senior leader, and serving as the president of the Ping Pong team, on which he was named the number one singles player. 
 
“I came to Loyola knowing virtually nobody and will leave with countless connections and friendships that I’ll value for a lifetime,” he says. 
 
Service work has been an important part of the Loyola experience for this Clavius Scholar, who fondly recalls his time tutoring elementary school students at the North Shore Chinese Center in Wilmette. “One third grader would ask me to play a game of chess against him each week. Despite being nearly a decade younger and often needing help with simple addition or subtraction, he always found a way to beat me,” Charley laughs. “However, seeing all the kids smile and have fun each week was worth conceding a checkmate or two.” 
 
Back in the classroom, Charley’s favorite class at Loyola was AP Statistics with Mrs. Van Lieshout because stats introduces a student to a whole new way of thinking. “I especially liked working with my classmates on the research project,” he says. “What I found most interesting was that the knowledge we learned is applicable to the real world.”  
 
When Charley enters college next year, he has his sights set on studying engineering, business, or a combination of the two. In the future he sees himself enjoying a career that enables him to continue the passions he cultivated at Loyola, like playing and coaching baseball.  
 
Until then, his focus remains on his senior year and enjoying the classes and activities that have come to define his time as a Rambler. “Loyola provides so many opportunities socially, spiritually, and academically for its students that aren’t available anywhere else, and for that I will always be thankful,” he says. 
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