When Jake Leclerc was a preteen, he lived in a suburb of Munich, Germany, where his father’s job took the family for a few years. The experience sparked interests that have evolved into career goals for the York High School senior, who graduates this month.

“It was a great experience,” Leclerc says. “We were able to travel a lot and visit many countries and experience many cultures. I attended an international school with students from all over the world. It’s kind of what opened it up for me. It made me realize that I enjoy going to new places and meeting new people.”

A hard-working student in the top 20 percent of his class, Leclerc plans to major in international studies at the University of Denver. It helps that he already speaks a few languages, having studied German and Spanish in high school and learned a little Arabic on his own.

“The most interesting aspect of international studies is conflict resolution, so I’d like to do something in that area,” Leclerc says. “I’m also very interested in languages. I’d like to continue studying Arabic and add Russian to the mix.”

An accomplished skier and all-around athlete who played lacrosse, golf, football and unified basketball, Leclerc will work as a lifeguard at town beaches for the third year in a row this summer. He helped to develop a water rescue training program with the York Fire Department that he hopes will expand to provide regular waterfront patrols this summer.

Leclerc, 17, has volunteered for several community service programs, including as a National Honor Society tutor for a few geometry students. He’s been on two mission trips with the youth group at St. Christopher Catholic Church in York, fixing up houses for people in need in rural Pennsylvania.

He also was a member of TIDALWAVSE, a student group that advocates for a chemical-free lifestyle and travels to other school districts promoting alternative ways to build self-esteem and enjoy life.

“It was a moving experience, helping to influence people to make healthier decisions in their lives and find other ways to achieve a natural high,” Leclerc says. “I loved being a part of that.”

Read all 2017 graduates to watch profiles.

— By Kelley Bouchard