High Five: Pam Pack scholar-athlete looks forward and back

Published 8:21 pm Sunday, January 30, 2022

Washington High School senior Jackson Wilder has had quite a week.

He was accepted at UNC-Chapel Hill and learned he is a finalist for the prestigious Park Scholarship at North Carolina St. The Washington native is also preparing for the 2A East swimming regional and looking ahead to tennis season.


  1. You are ranked first in the senior class and have several great options for college. What are the next steps in the Park Scholarship process?


Jackson: It’s a huge honor to be one of 112 finalists for this award. A lot of people have helped me along the way and I really appreciate it. Kids from all around the country apply and I’m very excited to be in the running. They award 40 scholarships every year and it would be amazing to get one. I go to Raleigh in a couple of weeks for two interviews, attend a dinner and a brunch, take a campus tour and spend the night with a previous winner as a roommate.


  1. You are a National Honor Society member with a 4.77 GPA and multiple accomplishments in and outside of school. How will all that help you become a Park Scholar?


Jackson: They look at scholarship, which is the academic part, leadership, character and service. I am one of the captains for the swim team, was a co-captain for cross country and will be the same for the tennis team. For my Eagle Scout project, I built and maintained a food pantry here on campus for anybody to use and I’m an instructor at the Little Washington Sailing School in the summer. I’ve had a lot of fun doing all those things and met a lot of great people.


  1. How will you prepare for your interviews?


Jackson: I’ve been very lucky to have some of my teachers, family and friends help me with mock interviews to try to anticipate some of the questions. I really appreciate all the people who have encouraged me through the process. Since I don’t know what they are going to ask, I’m just going to try to relax and be myself. Hopefully, that will be enough.


  1. What have you learned from your volunteer activities?


Jackson: That helping other people and trying to make my community better is really fun. Kevin Clancy at the Little Washington Sailing School has become a great mentor and I’ve learned a ton about how to get along with people by just watching him. It’s fun to watch the kids become good sailors in a week. I also think kids should have food available when they are hungry, so that’s why I started the food pantry.


  1. What are your favorite sports memories at WHS?


Jackson: It was great to be part of the first boys cross country team to qualify for the state meet in 24 years this past fall. Running as a Pack was a great experience. I’m also looking forward to the regional swim meet and the chance to qualify for state. I’m part of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams and the 200 medley relay, so hopefully we will do well.