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What’s your grade point average?

3.6 or 3.7. I don’t go insane, not like other kids. I think I can get a 5.0 (in high school) if I take Advanced Placement courses. I’m looking forward to high school. Tuesday, I went to the high school — they were taking pre-calculus and math analysis, and I actually learned a few things.

You don’t like middle school?

Movies make middle school seem horrible. But from my experience, it’s a lot more fun. It’s a lot more fun than elementary school.

So, you’re a finalist in a national science program (the Jason Project) which, if you’re chosen, will send you for a week to Hawaii to study habitats and go scuba diving, or Louisiana to study Hurricane Katrina’s effects on habitats. Which would you prefer?

I’ve never gone scuba diving. It looks fun. I’ve been snorkeling in the Mediterranean. The water was cold because we went on spring break. I was the only one to get into the water. Everyone else stayed on the boat.

How were you selected as a finalist?

I had to fill out an 8-page application and write a few essays. It was a lot of work. Then they had me do a video — a three-minute talk about what I like to do — followed by questions from a teacher and about the technology I’m interested in.

And you’ve won $10,000 in savings bonds in science competitions. What was one of your best projects?

In sixth grade, we were going to put heart-rate monitors on pilots so when they get into stress, they could be auto-piloted to the ground.

Are you a science nerd?

I don’t much enjoy the term “science nerd” … unless they mean it [in a nice way]. Or if they’re saying it and they’re jealous — that’s cool. I do like science.

Besides science, what do you like?

I play paintball at the rod and gun club. If the weather’s nice, I play every Sunday. I’m the youngest person that plays in the winter.

Are the rest of them, like, 40?

I think so. A few are soldiers. One of them is a doctor. The doctor’s really good.

Doesn’t it hurt when the paintball hits?

I’ve gotten welts that aren’t gone until the next week. If you get shot, it’s your fault.

Do you have a girlfriend?

Yes. She lives in the States, though. I met her in Washington, D.C. [at a science competition.] She beat me that year, too.

Your mother is a science teacher at Heidelberg Middle School, you’ve lived here six years and you expect to graduate from Heidelberg High School. What’s the worst part about living with the military?

My friends — they leave. Three-quarters of my friends left too soon.

Interview by Nancy Montgomery.

Blake Billmaier

Age: 13

Title: Science whiz

Day job: Heidelberg Middle School eighth-grader

Europe readers: Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to news@mail.estripes.osd.mil.

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