Meet a senior: Making a difference and finishing strong
Meet a senior: Making a difference and finishing strong
Posted on 11/18/2016
Meet a senior: Making a difference and finishing strong

Genuine. Humble. Compassionate. Dedicated. These are words used by teachers to describe Rogers High School senior Micah Jones.

As the ASB President at Rogers, Jones was gracious to sit down with us and share his perspective on the life of a senior who is enjoying his last year in high school, meeting graduation requirements, planning for the future, and “trying to finish the year out strong.”

RHS Senior Micah Jones

The son of military parents, Jones came to Puyallup in first grade and attended Hunt Elementary, Ballou Junior High, and Rogers High schools. The youngest member of his family, he has two brothers and a sister who attended Rogers before him. He describes his parents as very supportive, encouraging him to do his best, and always in attendance at his games cheering him on.

He is a member of the Student Council and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). As an athlete, Jones is a power forward on the Rogers basketball team and runs the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and participates in the high jump as a member of the track team.

His positive energy and love for his school is remarkable. His countless hours of community service and support through Leadership class is truly inspiring.
- Rogers Principal Jason Smith

Outside of school he volunteers his time as a preschool teacher at his church and is a Young Life leader at Aylen Junior High.

Principal Jason Smith said, “Rogers is extremely proud of Micah Jones. His positive energy and love for his school is remarkable. His countless hours of community service and support through Leadership class is truly inspiring. He embodies what it means to be a selfless leader. Micah Jones will do great things in the future.”

As a student leader Jones talked about challenges facing students, the impact of staff and teachers, and how technology affects students’ lives.

He speaks proudly about the students at Rogers and says they create a safe environment. New students are welcomed immediately and made to feel comfortable and a part of the Rogers community. They are encouraged to become involved in clubs and activities.

Jones had high praise for both school staff and the district. “In a competitive world — what the district is doing to prepare these students is great. I love the faculty — how they want all students to thrive and represent their best selves. The administration is fun and they love kids.”

Setting goals is the advice he would give to the new sophomore students. Identify specific things you want to accomplish. Get involved, whether it be sports, student body, or clubs. Becoming the secretary and treasurer of the sophomore class helped him become “plugged into the school.”

It is important for students to prepare for the senior year before they get there. He recommends taking the SATs in advance and keeping grades up so as not to fall behind. These are the things that will make the senior year less stressful. And, says Jones, “Don’t slack off just because it’s the senior year.”

Technology changes have had a major impact in the lives of students. “From a student leadership perspective it has allowed us to reach out to a lot of kids for events through social media,” said Jones.

Another affect that technology can have is to provide an avenue for bullying. Jones said being aware that it can take place on high school social media is important. “I think the administration does a really good job of keeping an eye on things going around the school. They know about negative events and take care of those issues. They do a good job making sure that everyone is safe,” he said.

The high school teachers are a resource for students who need help or someone to talk to. For example, Jones feels leadership teacher Brittany Langston makes a difference in students’ lives. “She understands teenagers — where we are coming from and the life issues. If anything happens she is the one students can talk to — a really great teacher,” he said.

Langston turned the praise towards Jones, “Micah is the kind of person that our Leadership group would be lost without. He will always be where he needs to be and goes above and beyond in his commitment to his school. As his leadership teacher/advisor I am continuously impressed with him and the kindness and dedication he gives to his school, his classmates, and to me.”

RHS student Micah Jones
On a personal note, Jones talked about a junior high teacher who made a great impact on his life. He said Ballou social studies teacher Troy Halfaday “had a huge impact on how I live my life and growing in my faith in Christ. He was a big influence on who I am today.”

When asked about Micah Jones, Halfaday responded, “Micah is an extraordinary person who humbly leads through his convictions that lie within his heart. Micah is relentless in his willingness to lead with integrity, and he has made an incredible impression on our entire Puyallup Community through his compassion for others. I could not be more proud of a young man who will dedicate his life to honor and serve the same principles and beliefs that make him who he is today.”

The senior year and Culminating Project

Jones is one of more than 1,600 seniors in the Puyallup School District whose lives are filled with studying, working on the Culminating Project, and participating in extracurricular activities as they prepare for graduation — less than seven months away.

“So far the year has been great. It can be very stressful getting through it because classes are rigorous, and I am very busy with activities,” said Jones. His rigorous classes include Advanced Placement Statistics and Chemistry.

The Puyallup School District strives to prepare each student for post-secondary opportunities. Students are required to complete a Culminating Project during the senior year. The project challenges students to apply their classroom education in demonstrating their readiness for life after high school through the completion of a three-part authentic, rigorous, and active experience:

  • - The community experience will include a 20-hour active, community-based learning or service experience;
  • - The portfolio will prepare students for successful transition to post-high opportunities and is a collection of evidence of work, knowledge, skills, and experiences accrued in grades 9-12; and
  • - The presentation will address five questions focused on the portfolio, community experience, paper, and post-high school plans.

College applications are being prepared and submitted by many seniors this fall. Jones has applied to Pacific University, Saint Martins University, and Western Washington University. He plans to major in education with a minor in communications. He hopes to return to Puyallup as a high school teacher.

In the words of Micah Jones, our wish for all Puyallup seniors is “to finish the year out strong.”

Nancy French
frenchnl@puyallup.k12.wa.us

photos by Andy Lynch