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Patton grad Jordan Jenkins receives prestigious scholar honor

posted May 10, 2018, 5:32 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

By Student News Ambassador Robin Heeralall


Jordan Jenkins, a 2015 graduate at Patton High School, has been named a Beinecke Scholar and will receive a $34,000 scholarship to attend graduate school. Jordan has competed her junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill and is one of 18 students nationwide to be named a Beinecke Scholar, which is a program of The Sperry Fund.


Jordan said “I was incredibly excited and honored to have won this scholarship. I feel that the approach that I take to studying Southern history has often been neglected or studied by those from wealthier backgrounds who do not fully understand why those in poverty make the choices that they do, so I am grateful for the opportunity to explore my perspective further in graduate school.”


Jordan’s majors are history, with a U.S. concentration, and political science. She said, “I have had a really great experience at UNC and am really thankful for all the opportunities that my professors and employers have helped me to explore.” She credited Burke County Public Schools and Patton High School for getting her ready for college. She said, “Patton High School prepared me for college primarily by developing my skills as a writer, which are integral to my needs as a historian. I am deeply grateful to my English teachers Amy Vaughn and John Zimmerman for their writing lessons and support throughout high school. The one high school class that has had the most profound impact on my life was definitely marching band with Chad Higdon. Band taught me not only how to play and appreciate music, but also instilled me with a sense of discipline and camaraderie that impacts my life on a daily basis.”


Jordan plans to not only get her master’s but also pursue a doctorate in American history. She wants to focus on race and class in the American South. She said, “I hope from there to become a professor and researcher.”

Jordan’s mother, Penny Jenkins, teaches civics and American history at Patton High School. Ms. Jenkins said, “I was very happy and very proud of my daughter. I know how hard she works and what her goals and ambitions are. To be chosen by UNC as the nominee for the scholarship was great news. It is very much a recognition of her determination and drive. The Beinecke will definitely help her in her quest for paying for her postgraduate studies.”


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said that he has known Jordan since she was a young girl. He said, “Make no mistake about it, Jordan Jenkins is going to impact this world in a positive way.”  


The Beinecke Scholarship is for students pursuing arts, humanities or social services degrees. Only six students from UNC-Chapel Hill have been honored as a Beinecke Scholar.

Photo is of Jordan Jenkins and her mom, Penny Jenkins.