Meet Nazareth's "Whiz Kid" Craig Welker
Craig Welker lands fifth in his class, but he’s still the crème de la crème.
"Whiz Kid" Facts:
- Name: Craig Welker
- School: 2011 graduate of Nazareth Area High School
- School Activities: National Honor Society, Blue Eagle Ambassador
- School Sports: Welker was a member of NAHS's cross country team throughout high school. During the fall 2010 season, he placed 8th among his teammates. Welker was also able to run a 5K race in 17 minutes, 30 seconds. In addition to cross country, he was a four-year member of NAHS's track and field team.
- Community Activities: Summer volunteer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg
- Church Activities: Welker taught Bible school at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Riegelsville and volunteered at church bazaars.
- Hobbies: Deep-sea fishing, watching movies, reading books, playing video games and listening to classic rock and Spanish pop music.
"Whiz Kid" Accomplishments:
- In addition to making High Honor roll, Welker was ranked in the top 10 of his class throughout his four years of high school.
- While at Nazareth High, Welker earned the Spanish Award, the Science Award and the Cross Country Scholar Athlete Award
- Welker was accepted into Muhlenberg College's honor society. Only 25 students out of 500 incoming freshman were accepted.
- With acceptance into Muhlenberg College's honor society, Welker received the Presidential Scholarship and the Dana Scholarship.
- As a member of the NAHS Science Olympiad team, Welker placed first and third in the "Disease Detectives" and "Ecology" events at Northampton Community College in 2011.
- During the 2011 Biology Olympiad at Cedar Crest College, Welker placed first in the "Zoology" event for the NAHS team.
"Whiz Kid" Key to Awesomeness:
Under his own volition, Craig Welker decided to volunteer his time in the summer of 2010 at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, where he was assigned to patient services.
“I liked seeing the whole setup of the hospital, since I may end up working there someday,” the recent Nazareth Area High School graduate said.
Craig knows that he wants to become a medical doctor, but he is still unsure about which medical field he will ultimately land in. In a few short months, he will head to Muhlenberg College, where he plans to major in biology and pre-med. Oh, and minor in Spanish.
“I liked talking to the patients,” Craig said of his time spent at the local hospital.
Often times, he would chat with patients as he wheeled them out of the hospital and into a waiting vehicle that would take them home.
“Many of them were nice,” he added.
In high school, Craig said his favorite classes were Spanish V; anatomy and physiology, and advanced placement biology.
“I love learning languages as much as I love the sciences,” Craig said about his diverse taste in subject matter.
One day, Craig hopes to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, an "organization that is committed to bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion or political affiliation," according to www.doctorswithoutborders.org.
According to Craig, the main languages spoken in the countries where the organization works are Spanish, Portuguese and French. He is currently teaching himself Portuguese.
“If I learn [the languages], then I’ll be set to go and volunteer,” he explained.
Daniel Welker, Craig's father, is "incredibly proud" of his son.
“He has an incredible work ethic and [is] very goal driven," the elder Welker said. "From a very early age, he was like a sponge. Whatever we taught him, he just soaked up and wanted more.”
As far as leaving high school, Craig is taking his steps toward college in stride.
“I’m very excited about the whole college thing,” he said. “[I'm] a little nervous about it, but everyone is. I feel ready.”
Craig admitted that he will miss many of his friends, but luckily, one of them will be joining him at Muhlenberg -- Luke Munyan. In fact, the two plan to participate on both the cross country and track and field teams while in college.
And, hopefully, Craig and Luke will have the same successful experience on Muhlenburg's teams as they did on NAHS's teams.
According to Craig, winning the District XI Championship for the NAHS cross country team was “pretty fun." The Blue Eagles beat 29 other schools to be crowned the Lehigh Valley Conference Champions, and the team finished its season among the top 20 teams in the state.
“It was one of my best experiences in high school... probably the best experience,” Craig said.