There are many things that Oakdale High School senior Jude Markel will need to think about this fall. How he covers his tuition for the University of the Pacific, however, is not one of them. Earlier this month the graduating senior learned of his selection as the 2018 recipient of the Leo Volz scholarship.
First introduced in 1998, the Leo Volz is an award which was established to present financial opportunity to OHS graduates representing the most outstanding all-around students of the graduating class. Volz, an Oakdale farmer, bequeathed a scholarship to be set up through Oakdale Joint Unified School District in his will, which was endowed with $2 million. Recipients chosen are gifted with $25,000 per year, for a maximum of $100,000 toward tuition and books at an accredited university.
It’s an honor, Markel shared, which combined with other assistance awarded to him by UOP and grants will cover the balance of his yearly tuition. Markel plans to attend the school’s Conservatory of Music as a Piano Performance major. He aspires to complete his undergraduate work in three to four years and then continue on with graduate school.
“Leo Volz really helps with making that happen,” he said of pursuing graduate studies once completing his work at UOP.
Markel shared his passion for the piano which started as early as second grade, while he was attending Cloverland elementary school.
“I practice anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour a day,” he said. “It’s just become something I’m so used to. I’m so fluent in it really that it’s just become a part of me.”
The senior’s passion for the piano and his craft becomes apparent as he speaks. He noted the major he has chosen became revealed as an option his junior year as his skill was recognized as collegiate level. Markel shared, a major in Piano Performance is not the same as a Music Education major. His career aspirations, while still not specific, are in the area of a professor, professional accompanist or concert pianist/soloist.
He’s also enjoyed expanding upon his love of music this past year, as the Drum Major for the OHS Marching Band.
“It’s really a leadership position that actually feels important to me,” he stated. “I have a lot of influence in trying to guide younger members of the band in how to read music versus just reading notes.”
Reflecting on his time at OHS, as he looks to his future, he shared his time spent in AP classes as the most valuable and instrumental in shaping him.
“I’ve always tried to challenge myself academically,” Markel said. “All the AP classes have helped keep my brain working.”
Asked to use one word to sum up Jude Markel, the senior did not hesitate.
“Creative would be the word which best describes me,” he said. “I use creative because that word can mean so many different things really. I create with my music. I create with my drawing, which is really just a hobby. I love creating worlds of characters and games. I always like solving problems with the most creative and efficient solution.”
As he looks ahead to what life holds for him at UOP, the one of only two schools which he applied to, he offers no regrets.
“I’m really happy with UOP,” he said, adding he intentionally chose not to apply to the masses once he identified UOP and Stanislaus State as the two universities which would serve him best.
The youngest of two boys, with a brother seven years his senior, Markel shared his brother also applied for the Volz his senior year.
“I have to add that I have to thank my parents,” the Volz Scholarship winner concluded, “for how they’ve raised me and how they’ve always been supportive of my activities. I’m really grateful to them.”