Whitman Has Three National Merit Scholarship Students

Left to right: Patrick Zakrzewski, Principal Kathie Acker, Bedel Saget, and Devon Budzitowski.
Left to right: Patrick Zakrzewski, Principal Kathie Acker, Bedel Saget, and Devon Budzitowski.

The National Merit Scholarship program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. High school students enter the National Merit program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Congratulations to Whitman seniors Patrick Zakrzewski, Bedel Saget, and Devon Budzitowski. 

“A tremendous number of hours of school work were needed to get me to the semi-finalist level,” said Patrick Zakrzewski. “It’s an honor to be acknowledged.” Patrick, a senior, will most likely be studying biochemical engineering next fall.  Northeastern University may be the perfect fit.  When asked what he liked most about Walt Whitman, Patrick enthusiastically offered the following: “The way our teachers interact with students. They get you excited about learning.”

It’s not all academics for this energetic student. Patrick plays trombone and piano for the marching band, jazz band, and pit orchestra. He makes sure that he is involved in at least one track season; his favorite is spring track, where he throws the shot put and discus. Patrick was instrumental in last year's Suffolk County Champion Mathletes, and he was named to the National and World Language Honor Societies.

“It’s nice to do really well on a test and then get recognition for it,” said Whitman senior Bedel Saget. Whitman is a special place according to Bedel. “There is a lot of spirit in Whitman. It seems that the teachers and students really enjoy being here, and that makes for a great environment.” The environment to which he refers has been instrumental in providing Bedel with an opportunity to explore and experience many different educational and extracurricular offerings. So it’s no wonder that for Bedel, his choices for post-secondary education are numerous. “Somewhere in the East,” said the multitalented senior. “I’m looking at several Ivy League schools and Duke and Temple, where I’m thinking of pursuing engineering or sports medicine.” Academics aside, Bedel is very active in Whitman’s athletic program, where he is playing varsity volleyball, basketball, and badminton.

When National Merit commended student Devon Budzitowski is not running cross-country or winter and spring track, he’s walking 5-minute intervals and taking in the positive environment at Whitman. “There’s something about the halls at Whitman that I find interesting,” said Devon. "There’s always something happening.” For Devon, miles of running cross country and track accent his interesting 5-minute walks between classes. “I usually don’t get recognition for grades and tests so this recognition is really good,” said Devon. “It’s nice to have something to show for the good grades that I got,” said Devon. Devon is a member of the National Honor Society and looking forward to a major in computer sciences in college next fall, perhaps at the new computer sciences facility that recently opened at Stony Brook University.