Jackson Academy senior Dolph Maxwell has been recognized as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. “Jackson Academy is thrilled that Dolph is being recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. For many years, Dolph has represented the best of Jackson Academy on the athletic fields, in the arts, and in the classroom,” says Dean Steven McCartney. Since he entered the third grade as a new student at JA, Dolph, his family, and Jackson Academy have partnered to foster his pursuit of excellence.
In 2016 Dolph was one of nearly 1.6 million juniors who entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This test is the first screen to determine which students will compete for designation as National Merit Finalists. The 16,000 semifinalists announced nationwide comprise less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, and include the highest scoring students in each state. For Dolph, the semifinalist designation is a great reward for years of hard work.
This academically talented student loves more than being in the books, and has embraced the opportunities available at JA. Whether it’s a lead role in a play, quiz bowl competitions, or a tough class like AP Calculus, Dolph’s curiosity is always accompanied by his love of a new challenge. Upon being notified of his selection, Dolph took a moment to reflect on the many ways JA has shaped his journey.
How have the teachers at JA influenced your life?
I sincerely believe that all the teachers I’ve had take a personal interest in each of their students, and I wouldn’t be able to make a short list of influential teachers. However, no teacher has been more important in my life than my 6th grade English teacher, my own mom.
How has your family supported your academic success?
Ever since I was little, my parents have fostered my curiosity about the world and encouraged me to learn more. My older siblings also treated me like a peer and always treated me like I was as smart as them, so I thought I was.
What things do you do outside of class?
I play football, perform with Encore and in the school plays, compete in quiz bowl and math and science competitions, and lead the senior class student council.
What classes are you taking this year?
Intro to Engineering, AP Cal, Latin III, AP Gov/Econ, AP Lit, Encore, and football
Which has been your favorite class, and why?
AP Lit has been especially fun because it feels like a continuation of last year’s class which was a very rewarding challenge.
Why do you like the challenge presented by a rigorous class?
When I really have to apply myself and give my all is when I’m at my best.
What do you hope to do in life?
I hope to use the gifts God has blessed me with to help others, whether that means healing in a hospital or ministering in daily life.
Dolph now qualifies to compete for the National Merit Finalist title and scholarship. He will collaborate with faculty at JA to complete a detailed application exploring his academic record, involvement, leadership, and honors and awards received. The results will be announced beginning next April, but in the meantime Dolph will roll up his sleeves to take on this new challenge while staying on top of his classes, performing in this fall’s production of Mary Poppins, and rounding out his final season on the JA Raiders football team.