A Fayette County high schooler is to spend the summer in China studying Mandarin as one of 600 recipients of a prestigious State Department scholarship.

Blake Traegar, a junior at Starr’s Mill, was selected for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship, a State Department program launched in 2006 to promote study by young Americans of less-prominent foreign languages and cultures, with the end goal of advancing international dialogue and U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.

Six other languages are offered in the scholarship program, including Arabic, Hindi, Korean, a variant of Persian, Russian, and Turkish.

Mr. Traeger is a 4.0 student who starts for Starr’s Mill Varsity Tennis team and sings bass in the school’s chorus.  He is also enrolled at Clayton State University, Fayette, adding college credit to his high-school curriculum.

His NSLI-Y scholarship will cover all program costs, including travel, tuition and academic preparation and testing.  Room and board is also provided, usually by a host family, so that students are further immersed in the culture.

Upon his high school graduation, Mr. Traeger will study international relations at a Chinese Flagship Program, offered at various U.S. universities and sponsored by the National Security Education Program, and sees this scholarship as a step to becoming a leader in the global community.