Jackson Hoffman is well known on the campus of Highlands Latin School. This gregarious senior came to HLS in the seventh grade. He is a member of the House of George and currently serves as the house tenant, responsible for ensuring that his house completes its historian projects. HLS Principal Kelly Booker said of this exceptional young man, “Jackson has an innate ability to draw students together across grade levels. He consistently approaches challenges with a positive attitude and he offers a willing hand at every opportunity.”
Over the past several years, Jackson has been heavily involved with the HLS Drama Troupe. Jackson explained that his mother always wanted him to do drama, but he hesitated to participate because he did not like speaking in front of people. One year, his mother encouraged him to attend an HLS summer drama camp focused on the backstage aspect of theater productions. During that camp, Jackson realized that drama entails more than just acting. Since then, he has regularly worked backstage as an active member of the Drama Troupe. Jackson began with The Curious Savage, then became the stage manager for the production of The Music Man.
Jackson explained that in his role as stage manager he did “anything, really, that the director needs backstage,” including running mics, helping with lighting, and keeping the cast and crew focused and on schedule. He also served as the stage manager for Anne of Green Gables and My Fair Lady. When asked what his favorite production has been, Jackson replied, “Honestly, I don’t really have a favorite. I’ve loved all of them, and they’ve all had their ups and downs.” However, Jackson did note that he enjoyed being in a true theater with a proper stage for Anne of Green Gables and My Fair Lady.
Kentucky Science Olympiad (KYSO) has been an important part of Jackson’s experience while at HLS, and he has participated almost every year since he began attending the school. Each year, nearly one thousand students from around the state make up over one hundred teams that compete in KYSO programs. Tournament competitions are made up of forty-six events that represent different scientific disciplines. Jackson said he prefers the life science projects. He explained, “I love biology—it’s my thing!” For the past two years, Jackson’s team has participated in an event that involves pre-building a model protein, taking a knowledge test over the structure of a protein, and then performing an on-site build of a protein. This year, Jackson and his team placed fourth.
Jackson participated in the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) during the summer of 2018. GSP is a residential program for outstanding rising high school seniors from across the state. The program’s goal is to enhance the next generation of economic and civic leaders in the state, and the application process involves submitting a record of academic achievement, a student profile, a written essay, a teacher recommendation, and a community recommendation. During GSP, Jackson spent five weeks studying at Northern Kentucky University. His focus area of study was international relations, and his general studies area was social psychology. Students at GSP also attended personal development seminars where they discussed their concerns, values, and aspirations. “You go to study for the sake of studying, and that’s the whole atmosphere,” Jackson said. “Everybody’s just wanting to gain more wisdom, gain more insight into the world we’re in.”
A highlight of Jackson’s last year at HLS was the spring break trip to Rome that is traditionally taken by seniors. Jackson said that he enjoyed seeing the beauty of all the things he had learned about at HLS, but that he also loved seeing new structures and pieces of art he had never heard of before. He appreciated being able to read and understand the Latin that was prevalent in many of the churches the group visited. The most meaningful experience of the trip for Jackson took place on the last day when the group attended Mass at the Pantheon. Jackson and several other members of the group were invited to view a private chapel and an ancient painting of Mary and Christ. It was a very emotional experience for the students. “It was so overwhelming, and there was just this feeling that we couldn’t explain,” Jackson said.
Highlands Latin School means a great deal to Jackson. Having come to HLS from a much larger school, he values the friendships that have developed within his small class of twenty-one students. “The relationships that we have been able to form have been amazing,” he said. Jackson has also deeply appreciated the close relationships with his teachers. He has been particularly close with Dr. Rebecca Shelburne, who he views as a mentor in many ways. Jackson stated that the education at HLS has been different from anything he’s experienced before. “It pushes you; it doesn’t hold you back,” he said. “Here they push you to go farther, and if you need help, they will help. I like that aspect of HLS the best.”
Currently, Jackson is still considering his options for college, but knows he wants to attend somewhere in Kentucky. He hopes to major in either neuroscience or biochemistry and pursue a career in pediatric medicine. When asked about Jackson, Dr. Shelburne replied, “Jackson Hoffman is not just one of my best students, he is one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. He finds good in everything and gives one hundred percent of himself to everyone. I will miss his help at every turn next year. He is going to do great in life, and we will remember him here at HLS for years to come.”
Join us for our final K-3 Open House, Tuesday, May 14, at our Southern Indiana campus at 12:00 p.m. to experience our culture of academic excellence.
Southern Indiana Campus – 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Short presentation beginning at 12:15 p.m.
2023 Ekin Ave., New Albany, IN 47150