Meet Nazareth's "Whiz Kid" Christopher Siedt
Christopher Siedt -- practically born to be an engineer -- was inventing contraptions at an early age.
"Whiz Kid" Facts:
- Name: Christopher Siedt
- School: 2011 graduate of Nazareth Area High School
- Executive Council of Class Officers -- treasurer during his junior and senior years
- Principal Student Advisory Board during his sophomore, junior and senior years
- Blue Eagle Ambassadors all four years of high school
- Member of the History Club during his sophomore and junior years
- NAHS Track & Field his sophomore, junior and senior years
- NAHS basketball team during his freshman and sophomore years
- High Honor roll, National Honor Society, ranked eighth in the NAHS class of 2011
- Ranked in the top 10 of his class all four years of high school
- High School Scholars Program -- attended classes at Lafayette College during his senior year
- Statistics Award
- Brenton Krouse Memorial Scholarship
- Nazareth Track Booster Club Scholarship
- Lower Nazareth PTA Scholarship
- Wegmans Food Store Inc. Scholarship
- A 2009 food bank and soup kitchen volunteer
- Was the youth leader for Vacation Bible School in 2009 and 2010 at St. Paul’s Third Lutheran Church.
- Wegmans -- started as a cashier in 2009 and moved his way up to pharmacy technician in 2010.
- Playing the guitar
"Whiz Kid" Key to Awesomeness:
When other neighborhood kids were busy playing a game of baseball, Christopher (Chris) Siedt was trying to trap a pesky critter.
When Chris was 8, there was a squirrel that kept taking food from the bird feeder, he explained, so he invented a contraption to trap it.
The budding mechanical engineer rigged a box to a pulley system in a tree. He then attached food to a string, which acted as the trigger that would release the box, falling on top of the squirrel, according to Chris.
A bag of baseballs would then follow the box, acting as a weight to keep the squirrel from escaping.
“The system worked,” Chris said, “but it wasn’t convincing enough for the squirrel.”
The adventure may not have yielded a squirrel, but it was the beginning of the boy's natural curiosity in how to make things work.
Now, 10 years later, Chris plans to attend Penn State and major in mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science.
“He’s also very knowledgeable about computers," said Kim Siedt, Chris's mother. "I don’t know how he knows all of these things.”
“Growing up, I always liked taking things apart,” Chris said, adding that he has always had "an inventive side."
A 2011 Nazareth Area High School graduate, Chris ended his high school career ranked eighth in his class. He said his favorite class was math, especially when he was able to apply the subject to engineering.
Chris' favorite teacher was Joe Novak, who taught honors pre-calculus and advanced-placement calculus.
“Mr. Novak is the best teacher in that school,” Chris said. “He puts it in layman's terms. He breaks it down and makes it so you understand the stuff, not just memorize it. He made sure that you knew why.”
During high school, Chris not only played sports, participated in clubs, took classes at Lafayette College and maintained a top-10 spot in his class, but also held down a part-time job at Wegmans. Oh, and he also designed the cover of his graduation program.
“I thought it was impressive that he balanced college classes, high school and work,” his mother said.
“It was tricky at times,” Chris added. “I would get home at 3:10, be to work by 4 and home at 8:30. It was tough. There were some late nights, just to get [homework] done.”
Kim added that her son never missed work to study or do homework.
“[Calling out of work] puts an unfair pressure on the people in the pharmacy," Kim said, adding that the pharmacy is kept going by a small staff.
Chris has always managed to ensure he was considerate and thoughtful when it came to the people who are an active part of his life -- and those who are not.
Chris said that as a teenager, his volunteer hours at a soup kitchen made a lasting impression on him. The hours were part of a requirement of being confirmed at his church, he explained.
“That was an experience... seeing how some people live,” Chris said. “A lot of them were very, very grateful for what we did for them.”