Jack (J.D.) Hopper

Jack (J.D.) Hopper’s presentation to the Committee is crisp, to the point, and professional. It is not surprising that, in his first meeting with one recommender: “He helped me to correct an issue with our light board that I had been struggling with for months.” J.D. was a freshman at the time. A second recommender had been informed that “an impressive student” was headed his way, which “set the bar high.” J.D. quickly “[soared] over that bar” with “his special mix of intelligence, work ethic and talent.” A graduate from Helix Charter School, with a GPA of 4.63—which puts him in the top 1.5% of his class—J.D. “challenged himself with 15 college level courses, positions in student government, and athletics” and was lighting designer, stage manager, master electrician, sound board operator, flyman and/or carpenter for 16+ productions, one of which won a National Youth Arts award for Best Production. “It’s easy to imagine a student so advanced looking with disdain on his classmates,” says one recommender, but, instead, J.D. pays it forward, both as a TA and by running “intensives for other TAs, making sure that [his skills] are passed on.” For J.D. collaboration and making contacts are all important. “I’ve learned to take advantage of sometimes-unspoken learning opportunities,” says J. D. “My [expertise] would not exist, had I not been given the opportunity to learn from people patient and passionate enough to teach me about what has become rudimentary to them.” J.D. will heading to Pittsburgh this fall where he will major in Theater Design at Carnegie Melon School of Drama—which accepts only 4% of its applicants. He expects to work hard and “[make] mistakes and [learn] from them along the way.” The college experience “should be messy,” says J.D. “It should be fun, it should be useful, but, ultimately, it should be [a] rewarding…launch-pad for the future.” In that future J.D. plans to pursue the intricate art of lighting design.

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