by Jim Boyle
On some good advice from previous Rogers High School graduates, Erik Bremer savored every moment.
Except for the time he spent agonizing over his fate in the National Merit Scholarhip program.
It was announced last month that he was indeed a National Merit Scholar, but even then he had to keep it secret for three weeks. The news marked his proudest accomplishment to date following a busy senior year full of exploration and success.
“It was exciting to find out,” he said. “There was a lot of anticipation. I had been waiting to find out for a long time. It was a year-and-a-half-long process. It was almost more relief than anything.”
Northwestern University has granted him the National Merit Scholarship to attend as communications student. He will get $2,000 a year for each of his four years in school there. More than that, however, he will be able to say he’s a National Merit Scholar for the rest of his life.
It’s a nice distinction for a kid who has grown up in the shadow of his father, Dick Bremer, a voice of the Minnesota Twins broadcast team.
“Up until this point, I have been known as Dick Bremer’s son,” the younger Bremer said from his St. Michael home this week. “Eventually, I want to be known as Erik Bremer. That’s something that I strive for and want to work toward. Hopefully, I can go about doing that.”
The 17-year-old, who will turn 18 on June 18, is off to a splendid start. The Merit Scholarship recognizes the student, who finished with a 4.078 grade point average, for his work through his junior year. He became a semifinalist based on the results of a standardized test in the fall of his junior year. He also had to do an essay, list his activities and send in a transcript to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. They didn’t, however, count all the fun — and success — he had in his senior year.
“I didn’t have a senior slide by any means,” Bremer said. “All my classes were accelerated or AP.”
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. He and his buddies on the Rogers baseball team spent time earlier this year in Florida at a spring training excursion.
He travelled to Anaheim, Calif., with DECA this year after finishing as a state finalist in public speaking winning a state championship. At nationals for DECA, he and his partner Levi Simpson in the sports and entertainment role play learned some valuable lessons on thinking on his feet.
“That was a unique experience,” he said. “I jumped into DECA last second, and we ended up doing very well,” he said.
Bremer also finished all-conference in knowledge bowl his senior year.
He got in front of the camera his senior year, too.
He and Simpson also started and successfully executed a weekly news program for Rogers High School students.
As vice president of the student council, he also sat on the Elk River Area School Board as a liaison to the board for the high school.
He was the public address announcer at girls basketball games.
He also organized a successful school supplies drive with a former kindergarten teacher of his that benefited children in Tanzania.
“He works so hard and uses his talents,” said Heidi Bremer, Erik’s mother. “I think he started out with intelligence, but he’s really used it.
“He’s helped other kids. He’s tutored. He’s mentored. He easily could have worked on his schoolwork and left it at that.”
Bremer said his parents have helped by being supportive and always encouraging him.
He and his sister, Hannah, 15, also got to go on at least one road trip per year with their dad and mom while they were growing up. The trips were fun and educational.
“My parents were dedicated to my academic growth before I was,” he said. “They got me reading before most kids. They insisted on getting me in those tougher classes. They made sure I was challenged in the Challenge classes before they were cut.”
Heidi Bremer, however, makes it clear the National Merit Scholarship is all about Erik.
As for where he will apply his talents after college is a mystery at this point.
“I’m not sure yet,” Erik Bremer said. “I’m going to go to college and see where college takes me, and from there hopefully I can have success and enjoy what I do.”
And if he’s able to do that, he will be known simply as Erik Bremer.