Sibley students named National Merit Commended
Sibley students named National Merit Commended Scholars
Posted on 11/07/2018
 National Merit Commended Scholars
 Pictured, from left: Melissa Yang, Aiden Jacobs and Blake Krisko

Henry Sibley High School and School District 197 congratulate seniors Melissa Yang, Aiden Jacobs and Blake Krisko, who have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program as Commended Scholars.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in their sophomore year.

Of the 1.6 million entrants, nearly 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. About 34,000 of the qualifiers, like Yang, Jacobs and Krisko, receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise.

An additional 16,000 students with the highest test scores are named Semifinalists and invited to apply for a chance to become a finalist and earn scholarships. This year Henry Sibley senior Vic Fischer was named a National Merit Semifinalist. Learn more about Fischer at

Name: Melissa Yang
Hometown: Mendota Heights
Parents: Yu Chin Yang and Yen Ju Lien
Other District 197 Schools Attended: Mendota Elementary School and Friendly Hills Middle School
Post-Graduation Plans: Pursue a degree in Biology and, potentially, Psychology

Melissa Yang’s open mind and positive attitude has attributed to her involvement in a wide variety of activities at Henry Sibley. According to Melissa, being an active participant in Key Club, LIVEGREEN, National Honor Society (NHS), Link Crew, Pom Squad and Ultimate Frisbee over the past four years has been time well spent.

“Sibley has prepared me for the future through the challenging courses that I have taken and the clubs I'm involved in, which has helped me find what I'm passionate about,” said Melissa.

As a student, Melissa has completed many of Henry Sibley’s most challenging courses including Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, World History, U.S. History, Chemistry, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Language and Composition, Physics Mechanics C and Psychology. For her high academic performance in these classes, she was named an AP Scholar with Distinction, which is awarded to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken. She has also completed Concurrent Enrollment (CE) Spanish IV and V at Henry Sibley through Minnesota State University-Mankato.

“My favorite subject was definitely AP Biology. I found the content to be difficult to understand at times, but each unit was always interesting,” said Melissa. “And the way Mr. (Eric) Friberg taught made the class engaging and fun to be in.”

When asked about a high school memory that will stay with her after graduation, Melissa expressed her fondness toward Henry Sibley’s annual Give Once For All (GOFA) week.

“My favorite and most memorable moments at Sibley definitely include GOFA week since there's so much going on, but at the same time, it makes an impact,” said Melissa. “It's fun not just because we get to miss class, but also because we're able to make a difference in our community, which is always a great thing.”

Name: Aiden Jacobs
Hometown: Mendota Heights
Parents: Ally and Jay Jacobs
Other District 197 Schools Attended: Somerset Elementary and Heritage E-STEM Magnet School
Post-Graduation Plans: Attend a four year college and pursue a degree in Chemical Engineering

Throughout his four years at Henry Sibley, much of Aiden Jacobs’ time and energy has been dedicated to the Sibley Robotics club, FRC 3100: Lightning Turtles. As co-captain, Aiden leads the Electrical and Programing division of the team, which is responsible for creating the mechanical “brains” of a robot. His interest in robotics dates back to 4th grade when he was first encouraged to explore the subject. 

“I started in 4th grade after the principal at Somerset asked me if I wanted to join a FIRST LEGO League team,” said Aiden in a recent Lightning Turtles newsletter. “I heard the word ‘LEGO’ and agreed right then and there. I’ve been doing robotics ever since. I joined the Lightning Turtles my freshman year, and have been a part of the team since.”

In addition to robotics, Aiden has taken a number of rigorous courses at Henry Sibley including Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Physics Mechanics, Biology, U.S. History, World History, through which he earned an AP Scholar with Distinction award. He is also currently enrolled in AP Economics.

“My teachers have always kept me challenged,” said Aiden. “I have really enjoyed working with Mr. (Peter) Bohacek to create educational physics videos.”

When he’s not in the robotics lab, Aiden spends his time as member of Sibley’s Math League and participates in the Henry Sibley Band. He also enjoys rock climbing and tutoring fellow classmates.

Name: Blake Krisko
Hometown: Mendota Heights
Parents: Brian and Jennifer Krisko
Other District 197 Schools Attended: Mendota Elementary and Friendly Hills Middle School
Post-Graduation Plans: Attend college to study Biochemistry

From academics to extracurricular activities, Blake Krisko has worked hard to make sure he takes advantage of the many opportunities at Henry Sibley.

“Sibley has challenged me with academics that have developed my strategies as a student in the classroom, and has introduced me to a diverse community that has enriched my involvement outside of the classroom,” said Blake.

Blake’s passion for community involvement can been seen through many of his commitments. He is the Vice President of Henry Sibley’s Student Council, and is a member of NHS, the Baseball team, Chamber Choir and Community Building Club.

Another way Blake has challenged himself is through a number of rigorous courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, World History, U.S. History, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Psychology and Chemistry. He was named an AP Scholar of Distinction this year for his efforts. In addition, he has also taken Concurrent Enrollment (CE) Spanish V at Henry Sibley through Minnesota State University-Mankato.

This past spring, Blake was a recipient of a Harvard Book Award from the Harvard Alumni Association, which recognizes students across the country who exemplify Harvard’s dedication to excellence through their intelligence and variety of achievements.

“My favorite teacher at Sibley is Mr. (Glenn) Skov,” said Blake. “Almost every day, Mr. Skov's class consisted of discussions that sparked my interest in writing and literature.”

When he’s not at school, you can find Blake playing baseball for the American Legion or volunteering for political organizations.