By Sue Moore
More than $657,000 in scholarships was given to seniors at Schoolcraft High School in 2015. Perhaps none were quite as meaningful as the two Heyl scholarships for a four-year ride at Kalamazoo College. Two Schoolcraft seniors, Pete Schultz and Jessica Wile, received Heyl Science Scholarships this year.
Over the course of four years, this scholarship amounts to about $200,000 per student, with only nine students chosen from the Kalamazoo area this year. Besides Schultz and Wile, McKenzie Ervin of Vicksburg was also a recipient. The Heyl Science Scholarship Fund is a gift from Frederick W. and Elsie L. Heyl. Dr. Heyl was a vice president for the Upjohn Company as well as its first research director and a strong believer in the importance of science and education.
Graduates of Kalamazoo Central, Loy Norrix and the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC) are eligible to apply for Heyl scholarships. The scholarship requires the deserving student to major in the natural sciences, mathematics, or computer science at Kalamazoo College.
Wile expects to major in math, saying it comes to her easily. She will minor in physics. Schultz plans on a science career, majoring in physics and possibly business as a minor. “Physics has so many options, it’s the way the universe works,” he says. Both students credited Mike Sinclair, their KAMSC physics teacher, with their success. “He pushes you, but really cares about his students,” they both say.
Wile and Schultz have attended KAMSC since their freshman year at Schoolcraft. They needed to test and apply to the program which admits approximately 86 freshman students each year. They attend sessions at KAMSC for half of the school day. The other half is spent at Schoolcraft. This means they have a foot in both worlds, they both reflect, but after a while, “you make it work. It used to be thought of as a ‘nerd’ school, but that has passed,” Schultz noted.
Sports participation is something of a limiting factor, due to time constraints, but Schultz was able to play football as a linebacker and kicker and was elected the team captain. Wile has been a soccer player since she was five and finally realized the goal of playing on Schoolcraft’s first girls’ varsity soccer team this spring. She scored the first goal ever for the team, had the most goals and assists as a forward, and co-captained the team that had one win and several losses. She has played on travel soccer teams throughout her career and expects to participate on K-College’s team next year. Jessica is also a runner, participating on the Eagles’ cross country and track teams for three years. She has also run with her mother in the Kalamazoo and Galveston Marathons.
Wile has a twin brother, Jake, an accomplished skier who will be attending Michigan State University this fall. The twins have been detasseling corn for Landis Farms for the last six summers. Jessica has never missed a day of work, she said. That has meant a reward of five trips to Cedar Point, courtesy of the Landis family.
The twins’ parents are Lance and Marti Wile, who met while they were students at Michigan State University.
Schultz has three older brothers. Ben, a KAMSC student and graduate of Notre Dame, is employed in a start-up company in New York City. Bob also received a Heyl scholarship and recently graduated from Kalamazoo College, and Charlie attends Grand Valley State University. Pete credits his brother Charlie with pushing him socially to be more outgoing. “I didn’t talk to anybody at KAMSC until the second semester. One of the best things to come out of attending there was learning to be more comfortable with myself.” He has been a counselor at a seventh grade camp the past few years. His parents are Greg and Katie Schultz who met as students at K-College in the 1980s.
Both families have lived in Schoolcraft since Jessica and Pete were babies. They even started nursery school together and live at opposite ends of the same street.