A graduate of Champion High School will soon be studying alternative energy sources in England after receiving a prestigious scholarship.
David Palm, 23, the son of longtime Champion residents Rozanne and Bill Palm, is one of 14 students in the United States chosen to receive the Churchill Scholarship - an award granted to students of exceptional ability and academic achievement by The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. It will provide support for a year of studying at the University of Cambridge.
"To see David win a scholarship to do this does not surprise us in the least,'' Palm's former teacher and current Champion High School Principal John Grabowski said.
''He was destined for great things. He's at the highest of high of Champion students that we've had," including students who have gone on to study at MIT and Purdue universities, Grabowski said.
Palm, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, said he will spend a year studying for his master's degree in chemistry.
"It's strictly a research degree, so there won't be any coursework involved," he said.
Palm said he wants to change the way the world depends on fossil fuels by harnessing energy from a renewable resource and storing it within a chemical fuel.
"My dream project would be to capture the energy from the sun and then store it,'' he said. ''I think it's a fun challenge, a big challenge. A lot of really smart people are already working on it, but it's always been the one problem that I'm the most excited about working on."
Palm graduated from Champion High School in 2009 and has lived in Trumbull County all his life.
"I think being from kind of a small place, I feel like I'm pretty down to earth even though I'm going to be heading thousands of miles away. It's always going to be important to me where I come from, the mentality I grew up with," he said.
His older brother, Chris, 26, of Cleveland and also a Champion graduate, studied engineering in college and set the stage for a lot of the things he is doing now, he said.
"I had a really strong support group with my parents growing up. My parents were always there to help me through it," whether it was academics, sports or anything in between, he said, and his family and friends are what he will miss the most when he leaves the country in October.
He will also miss the food.
"My mom is pretty Italian. We would have all the big family gatherings ... the festivals, those are always fun, the Italian Fest, the Hot Dog Shoppe ... all the local sports rivalries, competing against Lakeview in soccer and going head-to-head against some of my buddies is always really fun," he said.
"We have these big problems that we try to take on, but the place we come from and the people that support us along the way still matter, no matter where you are in the world," he said.
Grabowski said he won't be surprised if one day the world is running on alternate energy created by Palm.
"He's very driven. That's probably the most important thing. Not only is he a bright kid, but he is very, very focused and has the desire to get what he wants. We are very proud of David and all the things that he's achieved," he said.