The Lovett School, 2014 graduate
Jake Mercer is a true Renaissance man. The recent Lovett graduate excels in areas ranging from debate to Chinese to music. But what unites these passions is Jake’s sincere passion for learning and relentless work ethic.
“I really enjoy learning for the sake of learning, as cliché as that may sound,” Jake said.
Jake says he has been fascinated by the complexities of the Chinese language ever since he began studying the language six years ago. For the past two summers, Jake has further improved his language skills on summer exchange programs to China.
“Chinese is a really fun language to speak,” Jake said. “It’s so different from anything we use in English, so it keeps you on your toes. It reminds me a lot of music. Just like tone is important for the cello and pronunciation is imperative for a chorus, both of these forces are paramount when speaking Chinese. It can be the difference between asking for dumplings or telling someone that you need sleep.”
Jake’s love of languages also manifests itself in his recent roles as the president of the Speech and Debate Team, and a dedicated member of the Academic Team, a “Jeopardy”-esque activity. On the Speech and Debate Team, Jake mentored new members and practiced rhetoric. As a member of the Academic team, Jake has furthered his knowledge of history, as well as developed a healthy sense of competition.
“I love the tournaments because they’re really exhilarating, tangible forms of competition, but due to a substantial lack of interest at Lovett we rarely have enough people to go to tournaments,” Jake said. “But we still hold practice every day and compete with each other.”
Jake’s love of music has proved a respite from the rigors of his demanding extracurricular schedule. Jake plays cello in the Lovett orchestra and sings bass in the Georgia Boy Choir.
“Music is by far my favorite form of expression, and both orchestral and choral music lend themselves really well to catharsis,” said Jake.
Jake says he enjoys choir for its focus on the poetry of lyrics. As a member of the Georgia Boy Choir, Jake has performed in Austria, Russia, Ukraine and England. Jake will culminate his career with the choir this summer with a voyage to England to sing evensong services at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
While many students might be hesitant to try something new their senior year, Jake starred in his first-ever play, “The Glass Menagerie,” this spring. Jake suspects his interest in theater won’t end after he graduates from high school.
“Acting gives me an environment to create a new person and lets me inhabit them to the point where you can forget your normal self for awhile,” Jake said.
“Jake is the consummate scholar,” said Director of Service Learning Angela Morris-Long. “He is curious about everything, and is so engaged in his studies. Jake’s involved in all aspects of school life, and he does it all at the highest level. I have never met a high school student who has achieved so much in so many areas.”
Jake plans to attend either Oxford University or Middlebury College to study Chinese. He is undecided as to his future career, but hopes that it will involve travel.
The article was reported and written by Catherine Benedict, a student at The Westminster Schools.