Teen proves one can excel at school, Scouts and music

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- A teenager who played in a musical salute to the President of the United States is the FOX 4 News Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever of the Week. Jordan Donner not only excels in music, he's also a top scholar at Liberty North High School, an Eagle Scout and a busy community service volunteer leader.

Every hour in a challenging class like Advanced Placement Physics is full of new ideas and discoveries for Jordan Donner. It's the perfect environment for a young man leading the senior class in academics at Liberty North High School and aiming for a career as an electrical engineer.

"I love numbers," says Jordan. "I love solving problems. It's something that's set in my mind straight. And I can handle so many different tasks at a time that it just comes natural to me."

"He's kind of got that inner drive to find out more and learn more and go beyond what most students would think is necessary," says Liberty North High School AP Government teacher Kurt Gates, a strong mentor in Jordan's life.

Jordan's inner drive and problem-solving ability really came shining through when he spent last summer with his dad completely restoring -- inside and out -- a classic 1981 DeLorean car that had been sitting in a neighbor's garage for years.

"And so Dad and I are teaching each other how to have fun with this," says Jordan. "And we'd never done anything like this. And that's one of the best things I've ever done."

So Jordan is charting a strong and steady course to becoming an engineer but in the meantime he is piling up the accomplishments and activities and involvement in pursuits that don't automatically come to mind when you think of an engineer.

"Ever since fifth grade, I've been obsessed with music," says Jordan. Music IS huge in Jordan's life, whether at the keyboard playing the contemporary religious song Awesome God or wailing his alto saxophone as a star of several of the top student bands at Liberty North.

"I feel like I'm the most special person in the room when I can sit down and play a piece of music for people who are listening," says Jordan. "And the smiles I can throw on people's faces after I get done playing, it just feels good."

And as part of one of those school groups, The Screaming Eagles Marching Band, Jordan got what he calls the performance opportunity of a lifetime last month -- as the band was invited to play in the Presidential inaugural parade.

"The immense pride," says Jordan. " And the President and the Vice President, that they are appreciating the Liberty North Band. They're applauding what we're doing and it's just so gratifying."

Jordan's musical talents don't stop with instruments. He's a terrific vocalist, too, and turned in a solid performance earlier this month as Belle's father, Maurice, in the North High production of the musical Beauty and the Beast.

"He is someone who is driven but not at the expense of others," says Gates. "He works to make sure that others are successful, too."

That goes for Jordan's leadership and community service, as well. At school he's a consensus builder and skillfully brings vastly different student groups together.

"I want to set the best example I can as a person that others can model off of," says Jordan. "There's a neutral ground that people can appreciate and that's what I help people do."

And Jordan has amassed countless service and charity volunteer hours on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, including his capstone, planning and executing an important construction project for an area church's donor vehicle ministry. Jordan also devotes a lot of time to a remarkable little charity project he helped form as an eighth grader, The 10-Cents Store. He and others collect donated household goods and sell them at a dime a piece to low-income residents of an elderly living community in Liberty. Jordan says that gives the seniors a valuable sense of ownership and self-respect and that they are not just getting charity.

"I think that's one of the most impressive things about Jordan is that he is involved in so many activities and such a wide range of activities," says Gates. "And he excels in all of them. And he likes to branch out and explore new things and get involved and demonstrate his leadership in those activities."

"I can't seem to be sitting there and doing absolutely nothing," says Jordan. "And so when I find some time or I can squeeze something in, I like to be part of something that I'm normally not part of and I've really grown and matured myself as a person." Engineering a life of achievement already -- with much more ahead.

Jordan's already been accepted at TCU, Purdue and Mizzou and is waiting for word on his applications to Northwestern, MIT, Georgetown and the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 5 p.m.


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