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Student of the Month | April 2023 | Ava Kinghorn

Ava Kinghorn makes success seem simple. The Jordan High School Junior is well on her way to earning an AP Capstone diploma at the top of her graduating class, while simultaneously participating in extracurricular activities like multiple honor societies, running on the cross country and track teams, taking piano lessons, playing piano for her church, and performing. 

Although she’s a busy young woman and has had to learn to set boundaries to prevent overworking herself, Ava suggests that success is achieved by simply chasing joy. What fulfills her creates opportunity for success because she not only chooses her involvements intentionally, but surrounds herself with people who support and inspire her.

“By choosing rewarding extracurriculars, I am able to come home from a busy day feeling fulfilled and ready to spend quality time with my family. COVID allowed me to spend much more time with them and emphasized the value of their relationship with me. Because of this, I make sure to prioritize them, and time spent with them as much as possible.”

One of the persons who inspires her is her own younger brother.

“He is an exemplary example of what it means to be kind to each and every person he meets and always put others' needs before his own. He embraces every opportunity to try new things. He inspires me every day!” she said.

Ava inspires the adults who are privileged to be in her presence as well, according to Brian McDonald, Chair of the Advanced Placement department and Ava's Social Studies teacher.

She “represents the academic excellence that our school is known for: a challenging schedule, high grades, multiple AP courses, and exceeds faculty expectations with all of her work…Additionally, she is active in multiple clubs, demonstrates leadership on the track and cross country team, and spends much of her time volunteering for the school or outside organizations.”

While she has not yet begun applying to colleges yet, Ava’s plans after graduation are to matriculate to an institution of higher education, perhaps in North Carolina. Her study interests are in math, philosophy, and music and she looks forward to exploring the options relevant to her interests. 

Ava says she’s also interested in working with people with disabilities.

“I have had the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Reality Ministries community here in Durham, which is a community for people with and without disabilities to share life together. I have the most wonderful friendships as a result of that community. Every person there has inspired me, and I want to go into a career working with and serving people with disabilities,” Ava said.

Her commitment to others directly correlates to the support she’s received. 

“My primary motivators are the people around me on a daily basis. My parents are wonderful role models academically and in my personal life, and I take great inspiration from them. My teachers push me to become a better student and motivate me to be an involved community member. My friends are kind and encouraging, and always are there to help me back up every time I need a hand. I am so grateful to every person that motivates me every day!” she said.

McDonald shares a mutual admiration.

“Outside of academic achievement and extracurricular participation, though, it is her work ethic, growth mindset and natural curiosity that stands out. She wants to know the 'why' when it comes to content, listens to understand, and seeks additional information because she wants a deeper understanding of the material. She can lead a discussion or sit back and observe, while excelling at both. For all of these reasons and more, Ava Kinghorn has been selected as our DPS Student of the Month.”