After a rigorous multistage selection process in one of the nation’s most competitive merit scholarship programs, senior Dalton Haydel has been named a Jefferson Scholar. The Jefferson Foundation annually awards tuition, room and board, fees, the costs of studying abroad, and substantial additional enrichment support to select undergraduates at the University of Virginia who demonstrate excellence in “leadership, scholarship, and citizenship.” Jefferson Scholars represent the top 0.07 percentile of the school’s 51,000 applicants, and Haydel will receive one of about 30 Jefferson Scholarships after the foundation considered thousands of candidates from around the country.
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Haydel was selected from a pool of regional nominees that were narrowed down with a regional interview round before he was selected as a national finalist. He then participated in a final “selection week” that included an array of events, panels, lectures, and exams culminating in a finalist interview.
At Jesuit, Haydel has been an active student leader and member of several co-curriculars. He is the president of Pro-Life Club, an attorney for Mock Trial, the operations coordinator for Hams for Fams, the co-founder of Politics and Pastries, a cross country letterman, and a member of over half a dozen other student organizations.
“I am truly blessed to have such a phenomenal opportunity. With God, anything is possible, and may all glory be to Him,” said Haydel. “I remember speaking with Fr. Dyer on my junior Kairos retreat about my purpose in life, and he said, ‘Do that which most glorifies God.’ His advice resonated with me and inspired me to make the most of my short time here on earth.”
During junior year, each Blue Jay is paired up with one of three college counselors who supports him throughout the college admissions process.
“When I first met Dalton, I was struck by his ambition to help others and make a difference,” said Susan Yelton, Haydel’s college counselor. “Jesuit actively helps students identify their interests and develop them into passions, but Dalton is unique in that he identified his goals early on and has been tirelessly motivated to achieve them. From our first college meeting, it was clear that Dalton knew what he wanted to do with his life. It has been a joy and inspiration to watch him strive for those goals and achieve so much success throughout his intense college and scholarship application process.”
For Haydel, his experience at Jesuit has been as much about achieving lofty personal goals as it has been about developing in virtue and character.
“My Jesuit experience is the very foundation upon which my moral character, Catholic faith, and intellectual curiosity are built,” Haydel added. “With absolute certainty, I can say that Jesuit High School has transformed me into who I am today.”
Giving a word of advice to younger and future Blue Jays, he continued on to say, “The only secret is that you must open your mind and heart to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon you at the corner of Carrollton & Banks. As you walk the halls, the 175 years of academic and athletic awards demonstrate just how unrivaled Jesuit is. But, there is something greater that transcends the vast display cases and sacred halls. It is four letters. A.M.D.G.”
Beyond being accepted to 14 competitive colleges and universities including Georgetown, the University of Notre Dame, Rhodes College, Washington and Lee, Fordham University, and Boston College, Haydel was also recognized by several other major national competitive scholarship programs. These awards and recognitions include:
- National Merit Finalist
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that is based on PSAT/NMSQT scores. Finalists are selected based on their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, leadership abilities, and potential for future success. Being named a National Merit Finalist is a significant accomplishment and can open doors to additional scholarship opportunities and prestigious colleges.
- U.S. Department of Education Presidential Scholar
The Presidential Scholars Program is one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. Candidates are selected based on their academic achievements, artistic excellence, leadership abilities, and community service. Being named a Presidential Scholar Candidate signifies outstanding academic achievement and a well-rounded profile.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Audio-Essay Contest
District Winner, State Winner, and National Finalist
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Voice of Democracy Program is an audio-essay contest for high school students that promotes patriotism and civic responsibility. District and State winners, as well as National Finalists, have demonstrated exceptional public speaking and communication skills, as well as a deep understanding of civic responsibility and American values.
- Knights of Columbus Catholic Youth Leadership Award
Archdiocese of New Orleans Winner and State Finalist
The Knights of Columbus Catholic Youth Leadership Award is a recognition program that honors outstanding high school students who demonstrate exceptional leadership, service, and commitment to the Catholic faith. Being awarded this award signifies not only academic and extracurricular achievements but also a deep commitment to personal values and the Catholic faith.
- Washington Crossing Foundation
The Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarships are a series of merit-based scholarships awarded to high school seniors who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and a deep understanding of the importance of civic responsibility and leadership. Finalists have demonstrated outstanding potential for future success in academic and leadership roles.
He also received nominations or finalist designations for the following awards that he will forgo to accept his Jefferson Scholarship:
- Washington and Lee University: David Favrot, Jr., Honor Scholarship Finalist
- University of Florida: Stamps Scholarship Nominee (Finalist Round)
- Fordham University Recognition Scholarship
- College of William & Mary: Monroe Scholar
- Texas A&M University: Business Honors Program
- Rhodes College: Ralph C. Hon Scholarship