Two friends who followed two very different but equally challenging academic paths at T.C. Williams High School are this year’s valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2018.
Jackson du Pont, who is passionate about history and international relations, is valedictorian, while Jonah Raphael Horowitz, who shone in math will be this year’s salutatorian. Jackson heads to Yale University to study global affairs and Jonah heads to Amherst College, possibly to follow a career in science or medicine.
Despite following parallel academic paths, the two young men, who met in chemistry class at Minnie Howard in their freshman year, have both credited the high-caliber teaching staff at T.C. for their success.
I look back at T.C. with nothing but fondness. The teachers here are what really make it just an amazing experience. I’ve had many, many high-caliber, excellent teachers, who really care about us as students and individuals. T.C. is a unique and very special place and I’m sure that I’m going to miss it next year,” said Jackson, a member of the Model United Nations, National English Honor Society and National Honor Society, who attended George Mason Elementary School and George Washington Middle School.
Jonah, a member of the National Math Honor Society and Chess Club and a Spanish Governor’s School participant, spent several hundred hours as a volunteer at Sibley Memorial Hospital in D.C. throughout high school.
I didn’t realize how insulated I was until I came to T.C. I didn’t even realize how big the city was. I lived in Old Town and I didn’t really see beyond that,” Jonah said.
The two have bonded over two loves – trivia, which led to them participating in the “It’s Academic” club, and ramen, which sent them into Washington, D.C. on many occasions in search of the best cheap eats. Jackson also loves ultimate frisbee, which he plays as part of a pick-up league, and dreams of the day when the sport reaches a fever pitch and scholarship opportunities abound. Jonah’s great passion is the guitar.
Choose one thing — and that thing can be anything, playing the guitar, making history documentaries or being good at math. Choose one thing and during your time here, make it so that at the end of your four years, when someone sees you, they associate that one thing with you. Making yourself really great at one or two things can make you more appealing to prospective employers or schools,” said Jackson, who made history documentaries for National History Day for five years straight.
Challenge yourself, believe in yourself and push yourself because you can handle more than you think you can,” is Jonah’s advice for those graduating next school year.
Watch their speeches from the T.C. Williams Class of 2018 Graduation Ceremony.