Grad will take positive attitude to MIT this fall
Staff Writer

MILFORD – It took Jacob Wamala some time to get used to small town life and a small town high school. But you would never know it from watching how easily he moves around Milford High School flashing a friendly smile. And you would never know it from his extraordinary academic achievements.

Wamala is one of 200 members of the class of 2008 who will graduate this Saturday from Milford High School, at 10 a.m. in the Hampshire Dome on Emerson Road. He started school here as a junior last year, transferring from Lowell High School in Massachusetts.

Now he’s anticipating another big move soon after graduation – to Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’ll be part of a summer “jump start program” for freshmen.

He plans to study engineering and chose MIT after being accepted to Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania and Notre Dame University, because “Boston is my favorite city,” and it’s not too far away, he said.

That top-tiered colleges wanted Wamala doesn’t surprise anyone who knows this young man, who earned perfect scores on his advanced placement math test and his math SAT test.

Wamala is tall and lean, with a modest manner that can’t quite hide his pleasure at his achievements, and maybe that’s because his success is relatively new.

“I was always an A or B math student in middle school,” he said, “but when I got to high school I decided to push myself.”

Pushing himself included teaching himself enough algebra over the summer before he started high school so that he could take Algebra II with trigonometry and skip Algebra I.

Summer reading between freshman and sophomore year included a calculus textbook, so he wound up with a perfect 100 for the course and another perfect score, 5, on the Advanced Placement test. Then he received another perfect score, an 800, on his math SAT.

He is the reason Milford High started a Calculus-II class when he came here as a junior after taking Calculus-I as a sophomore in Lowell. Wamala is also an athlete, playing basketball and wide receiver and cornerback on the Milford high football team.

Personal high spots of the past two years include the camaraderie of football camp and the summer he spent at the St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies program were he took Introduction to Engineering.

“I really, really enjoyed it and it got me prepared (for college life) – I stayed in a dorm, learned to manage my time,” he said, and to balance schoolwork and activities.

Wamala was also a Massachusetts state chess champion in ninth and 10th grades.

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