Last week, while sitting in his third-period AP English Literature and Composition course, senior Jackson Blitz received a call: high school principal Mrs. Elise Blum wished to see him in the office. Blitz learned that with the second-highest GPA of his classmates, he was the salutatorian of the Class of 2017.
“It was great seeing my hard work blossom into a nice recognition,” Blitz said.
Blitz, who has been attending Heritage since his freshman year, attributes his high GPA to “a bunch of AP courses and a healthy supply of math classes.”
Blitz participates in math competitions at school and throughout Florida in addition to tutoring his peers in math. He recently competed in a math competition at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
According to Mr. Radleigh Santos, who helps coordinate the mathematics competition program and is the calculus coach who works closely with Blitz, “He [Blitz] is absolutely passionate about mathematics, both in terms of learning and teaching. Throughout the entire time he’s been in math competition, he has constantly striven to learn as much as he can and to share that knowledge with his teammates.”
Blitz is also the president of the Math Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and a team member of Quiz Bowl and Science Bowl. Despite his love for math, he said his favorite course in high school was AP Chemistry with Mrs. Dawn Gregor.
“She taught me how to… work hard for success. Plus, I could imagine myself as a crazy scientist in the lab,” Blitz said.
While Blitz remains uncertain where he will spend the next four years studying (he was accepted to Princeton University’s Class of 2021 but is still awaiting decisions from Stanford University, Harvard University and MIT), he is certain that he wishes to incorporate math into his future plans.
“I envision in another 18 years I will be a math professor at some university while conducting pure mathematics research,” Blitz said. According to Blitz, “Pure mathematics is math for the sake of math.”This field does not concern itself with the immediate application of its findings to the “real world.”
As salutatorian, Blitz will deliver a speech at graduation. Although Blitz said there are many guidelines he must follow when crafting his speech, he hopes to write a “perfect speech” by Mid-April. According to Blitz, Mrs. Adrianne Shienvold reads over and edits the speeches of the student speakers.
“I hope I can deliver a great speech for my class,” Blitz said.