photo by Adaline Bray
Senior Profile: Eli Mennerick
April 10, 2017
For many, success in academics comes with a whole lot of negatives. Decent sleep schedules go out the window, extracurriculars are limited due to heavy course loads and pressure pushes students to compete with each other and to stand out. Students often crumble under the weight of their intellectual expectations. But one student has risen above it all to become a standout in the halls of KHS.
Eli Mennerick has solidified his stance as an academic force at KHS, especially in the past two years. During his junior year, he nailed a perfect 36 on the ACT. More recently, he was accepted into both Stanford and Yale University, two of the most selective schools in the nation. Always humble about these achievements, Eli thanks the strong academic environment present in KSD for his recent triumphs.
“I’ve been in the KSD since kindergarten, [and] they’ve got great support for the students,” Eli said. “I would [also] attribute [my success] to individual teachers at Kirkwood who are passionate about learning and gave me that passion, too.”
One such individual, Dr. June Bourque, Eli’s AP Biology teacher, taught Eli last year and said his academic talent was obvious in her classroom. During class, she noticed he had very good learning habits, which she believes helped him to succeed in the course.
“[Eli] approached [the class] by always being extremely prepared,” Bourque said. “He was never behind in anything and was always proactive. He knew exactly what he had to do and never had to stop and ask what was going on.”
Beyond the staff of KHS, two of Eli’s family members also recognizes how much he has accomplished in his academic career. His sister Grace Mennerick, sophomore, describes him as an excellent source of knowledge and advice. She also tends to measure herself up to his accomplishments, which she said increases her drive and commitment to succeed. Though at times this competitive mindset can be negative, Grace said she was also able to use Eli as a role model for her own path.”
“[His success] allows me to talk to him a lot more, because I’m trying to learn from him,” Grace said. “I ask myself ‘how did he get where he [is] now?’”
Despite the already strong academic atmosphere within the Mennerick household, Eli’s mother and father realized that he had great intellectual potential from an early age. Eli’s father, Steve Mennerick, a neuroscientist at Washington University in St. Louis, described him as a quiet and thoughtful kid who excelled at standardized tests, even in kindergarten. More importantly, he is very proud of the track Eli has put himself on.
“We try to expose our kids to [many] different things,” Steve said. “[So] I’m especially proud of the multiple interests he’s maintained, and [his mom and I] are very happy for him and all he’s achieved in high school.”
Eli’s primary focus outside of academics is playing the trombone, and he has reached a level that has allowed him to be KHS Band President, a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra in addition to the All-National Band. However, he doesn’t see himself making a career out of music, and as of right now, he is still undecided on his major. Regardless, he is confident he will find a place where he can excel and be happy.
“I’ve done my best to keep all of the things that I enjoy present in my life,” Eli said. “I’ve tried not limit myself unnecessarily. So I’m happy with the balance I’ve achieved right now, and it’s just a matter of maintaining that balance.”
Dr. Bourque’s experience with Eli paints a perfect picture of the kind of student, and person, he is. She describes a classroom that runs more smoothly because of his preparedness and willingness to aid his peers. She describes being astounded by his higher-level thinking skills. But most of all, she describes an environment in which he is able to impact his peers in an overwhelmingly positive way.
“He doesn’t boast,” Bourque said. “People have a lot of respect for him. Because he does so well, [his peers] want to do well too, so they use him as a role model. He challenges them. And he’s one of the best students I’ve ever had.”