Jacob Capets wins John B. Rodgers Scholarship recipient


Mackenzie Shrum

How does it feel to receive such a prestigious scholarship?  

Receiving the John B. Rodgers Scholarship was incredibly surreal. It was a rollercoaster of emotions: fear to excitement to pride. When I was first called into guidance before the announcement was made, I thought that I had been in trouble for something, especially when I saw Dr. Choby sitting in Ms. Thorsen’s office. However, when he began explaining that I had earned the scholarship, those anxious feelings quickly shifted into excitement. As it began to set in that I had actually received the scholarship, I felt pride for the work that I have done and motivation for the work I will do as I move forward to college.

What kinds of clubs and activities do you participate in outside of the classroom?                                         

Throughout high school, my philosophy for extracurricular activities has been to keep them as diverse as possible. Sticking to one club, one sport, or one ensemble limits growth. I have been an active participant in music here at the high school through both the band and orchestra, I took advantage of my STEM interests with Science Olympiad and the Math Team, I fell in love with skiing, and I discovered a new passion over the last four years in foreign languages as I am the current German Club President. High school is a time to explore one’s interests — and it is okay to dislike certain activities.

What are your plans after graduation and how has your award influenced this?                                       

After graduation, I will be attending Penn State University through the Schreyer Honors College and I am majoring in chemical engineering. On top of this, I am already doing research into graduate school programs that I can work toward in my undergraduate years. This scholarship has certainly widened the scope of my opportunities as I had initially believed my hopes of earning a master’s or doctoral degree would be out of reach; however, as long as I maintain my current drive and work ethic, I am now confident in the pursuit of those goals.

What is the most important thing high school taught you?    

The most important thing that high school has taught me is that you get what you give. Hard work generates success. Respecting teachers helps teachers to respect you. Without integrity and dignity, success loses meaning.

What is your fondest memory of high school?                             

My fondest memory of high school is somewhat unconventional, but I promise it still holds a deep meaning to me. During the beginning of the pandemic, after the two weeks we spent away from school, having the chance to see my friends and teachers on Zoom was such a liberating feeling. We had the chance to commiserate with each other on our quarantine experiences and finally hear voices that did not belong to our families. It reminded me that we were all struggling through the same situations and it allowed the world to feel a little less chaotic.

Who has been the most influential person in your academic life? Why?                                                                                          

 My parents have easily served as the most influential people in my academic life; from teaching me how to read to providing invaluable guidance on navigating the college search — I could never express my gratitude in its entirety toward them. If I can even mirror just a fraction of their work ethic or passion, I know that I will be successful.

What piece of advice would you like to give to upcoming seniors?                                                                                                

 To the upcoming seniors: don’t quit. Even when it seems easier to coast through this year, especially after your post-graduation plans are set, keep pushing to be the best student you can be. Throwing your cap in the air on the night of Commencement will be much more meaningful if you can look back at the last four years and have pride in the work you have done.