Eastern Wake News

Knightdale High School valedictorian plans to use math ability

mgoad@newsobserver.com

Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design class of 2016 valedictorian Jordan Nichols said he’d like to stay in the Triangle, but he will go wherever his career choice of robotics takes him.

“It’s really a growing field now so there’s opportunity in a lot of places,” Nichols said.

Nichols, the son of Tony and Amy Nichols of Knightdale, has lived in Knightdale his whole life, and will still be close by in college at N.C. State. He plans to study mechanical engineering, and has taken physics and calculus in high school to prepare.

“I’m just a math person,” Nichols said. “I like physics and calculus. I just really enjoy math.”

He has a non-weighted grade point average of 4.0 and a weighted GPA of 5.07 through the third quarter of his senior year.

He has no secret for getting high grades, just the basics. “I work really hard,” Nichols said. “I do all my stuff as soon as I get it. I don’t like to procrastinate, and I try to think out of the box, be creative.”

His favorite class was calculus and least favorite was English, because he sees it based more on opinions than math or science. He likes to read, but writing is more of a challenge. “I like having a problem and being able to solve it,” he said.

Nichols’ calculus teacher teacher, Tracey Pratt, said he was one of the most respectful and mature students she’s ever taught. “His natural math ability is just more than I’ve ever seen,” she said. “He’s just a wonderful, wonderful person. I wish I could duplicate him.”

Nichols has swum competitively since he was 6 and is on the school swim team. He has worked as a lifeguard during the summer, most recently starting a lifeguarding job at the YMCA of Knightdale.

“I get to be in a position to help people,” he said of what he enjoys about the job. “I really feel at home just in or around a pool. People are always friendly. It’s a nice place to work.”

He also is community service chairman of the school’s National Honor Society chapter and volunteers for Forestville Road Elementary’s after-school care program for students waiting for a ride from parents who can’t get there right after school.

Nichols also has been working on his graduation address, in which he will urge his classmates to do what makes them happy. “I’m not a big public speaker, but I’ll do it,” he said. “It’s kind of important I guess.”

Matt Goad: 919-829-4826

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