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Chestatee senior hopes to take public service all the way to Oval Office
Noah Merck
Chestatee High's Noah Merck started a community service project to build a well in Uganda. He's involved with many clubs and activities, and aspires to one day be president. - photo by Scott Rogers

Noah Merck, an 18-year-old senior at Chestatee High School, has plans to become the president of the United States.

“I know it sounds high aspiration, but I really, really, really want to be president,” Noah said about his career goals. “My friends and I joke about it too, and they all say, ‘Noah 2048.’”

While he chuckled as he spoke about it, he made clear his intentions are serious.

“Even if I’m not president, just something in politics,” he said. “Maybe being a governor or something. Just something to where I can represent people and go from there.”

Part of this ambition comes from Noah’s dedication to community service.

“I really like to see a difference made in other people's lives,” he said. “Whatever it is, I always try to do anything I can to just help other people out.”

And he recently headed up a project to do just that.

“This year I kicked off a community service project with (my) high school, the middle school (Chestatee Academy), Sardis and Lanier (elementaries), and we raised $8,000 for a well in Uganda,” he said. “That just recently got finished, so that’s going to go underway within the next couple of months, which is really cool.”

Noah said he arranged the fundraiser through Thirst Project, an organization that, according to its website, wants to “build a socially-conscious generation of young people who end the global water crisis.”

“I heard them speak before at a club convention,” Noah said. “That’s where I learned about it. It was always just in the back of my mind, and I always wanted to do something with them. So when this school year started, I just talked to them a couple of times and got the idea going.”

He said he started working on the project at the beginning of the school year, and fundraising efforts started in February.  
“We did so much stuff,” he said about the fundraising process. “We sold some custom T-shirts we had made. We gave every student an envelope, and we made it every student’s goal to give $5. Of course you can’t always rely on every student, which we had anticipated. But in addition to that we also had stickers that we gave out and lots of incentives for students to give.”

Because he had such a big goal, he made sure to get help from other local schools.
“I went and I spoke to the administrators at the middle school and Sardis and Lanier, and I made sure all the administrators were on board first,” he said. “I made sure we had a point person at each school, and the point person ran the thing at each of their respective schools. I headed up over all of it, but I more so headed the details at the high school and we had people that did the small details at every school.”

While organizing the project, Noah was also part of many other activities in high school.

“I love being involved,” he said. “Throughout high school I was on the varsity cross country and track team, and I’ve been in band for four years as well as I’ve been the drum major for the past two. And I was student council president this year. I’ve been on student council all four years.”

He said balancing all of this took good time management skills.

“Every high schooler procrastinates,” he said. “It always happens. I really just had to plan out what I was going to do. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would devote an hour or so to the project in the early stages. That way on the other days of the week after school I could solely focus on sports or homework and that kind of thing so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed.”

Noah said the community service project was a success, and they’ve now raised all the money for the well.
“I think what I hope to get from the project is to increase the awareness that the whole world isn’t as well off as we are,” he said. “Oftentimes we get so caught up in what we're so blessed with here, and we kind of forget that not everyone has those opportunities. I think that’s the big picture I want people here to understand.”
And although this project and his high school career are nearing an end, Noah said he still plans to be involved with community service in college.
“I recently committed to George Washington University in D.C.,” he said. “They have Circle K there, and that’s like the college version of Key Club. Just like Key Club, their whole thing is around community service, so that’s how I plan to keep that involved on the college level.”

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