Eric Jones was recently named as a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar, a distinction that caps off a legacy of accomplishment at Destrehan High School.
Jones, a 2021 DHS graduate, will head to Stanford University in the fall to study biomechanical engineering on a pre-med track. He said the move across the country will have minimal impacts on his strong family relationships.
“Distance does not mean anything in this family,” Jones said laughing. “I’m sure there will be lots of Zoom and FaceTime calls.”
Jones said the decision as to which college he would attend was a tough one, especially as the acceptance letters began to roll in.
“I remember getting my first one,” he said of the letters. “I remember the feeling like, ‘I finally made it … I’m finally going to college.’ Then I started realizing that I had a lot of options.”
Jones’ plethora of options was made possible by his dynamic set of academic accomplishments. He was not only Destrehan High School’s Student of the Year, but also Student of the Year while at St. Rose Elementary and Albert Cammon.
“Eric has always been someone who impressed others at school,” Jones’ elementary school counselor, Katie Gabriel, said. “His mannerisms and attitude towards the curriculum and his classmates in elementary school was always something that people noticed. Eric has never let any of the hardships he has endured be an excuse; he has used them as fuel to fire his spirit.”
“In elementary school, when I was in fifth grade, my father passed away,” he said. “From there I remember being in a family of six people … I have five siblings and my father was the bread winner … it was difficult adjusting to him not being there. I was able to use that to fire me to keep going. It’s just how life goes, but you have to keep pushing.”
Jones said a main motivator to his success was his mother’s well-being.
“I just want to be able to take care of her when I get older,” he said. “I had a passion just to always do my best in the classroom.”
Jones dove into extra-curriculars in middle school.
“I remember during middle school I was looking for more activities to do outside of school that would differentiate me from everyone else,” he said. “One of my volunteer experiences was at the St. Rose Nursing Home, and being around the environment of care grew my interest in medicine.”
Jones began participating in summer programs revolving around medicine, and soon set his sights on a career in it.
At DHS he played football with the Destrehan Fighting Wildcats and was a Wildcat Mentor, member of the Interact Club, Fundraising Vice President of the Beta Club, Vice President of the National Honor Society, Executive Board Secretary of Student Council and a student advocate on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council.
His community involvement has included being a volunteer with the Second Harvest Food Bank and with the Children’s Hospital Teen Ambassador Program, as well as a community advocate on the Bayer Community Advisory Panel.
With his insatiable appetite for learning and his desire to expand his perspective, Jones attended several summer learning programs, including: Duke TIP 2017 for Brain, Intelligence, and Creativity; Duke TIP 2018 for Algebra II; Envision Program for Advanced Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, 2018; Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston; National Youth Leadership Conference for Neuroscience and Psychology at Harvard Medical School, an Advanced Medicine and Health Care seminar, Orthopedic Course Certificate – The Future Doctors Academy and a Tulane University Introduction to Engineering Design experience. He has also shadowed with a Children’s Hospital neurosurgeon.
Jones, who plays the violin and is CPR certified, has many notable academic achievements and skills. He is a three-year Patrick F. Taylor Scholar, honor roll student, Tulane Book Award winner, QuestBridge College Prep Scholar, AP Scholar with Distinction, National College Match Finalist, LRA Young Authors School Winner, St. Charles Parish Young Authors Winner, Horatio Alger Association State Scholar, Gates Scholar, Ron Brown Scholar and National Merit Semi-Finalist.
Jones said he enjoyed his time at DHS, and credits the school’s faculty and staff, as well as the multitude of clubs offered, to his success.
“There’s so many things to take advantage of at Destrehan,” he said. “If I was in any other place, I wouldn’t be as successful. I’m just very grateful and very blessed to be able to have the success I do. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my faith, my family and my support system.”
Tameka Green, former principal at Albert Cammon Middle School, said Jones sets goals, keeps his eyes on the prize and does not quit.
“Eric Jones is a true leader who leads by example and proves that you can be a scholar and an athlete at the same time,” she said. “He is disciplined and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Eric understands that life is a compilation of good decisions and tries his best to make those one day at a time, and I know that he will use his gifts and talents to serve our world well.”
Jones said the cornerstone of his success is his faith.
“Faith was instilled in me since a young age and because of that I have a strong relationship with God,” Jones said. “Without Him, none of this would be possible.”