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NRHS Senior Spotlight: Jared Hensley

Susan Shinn Turner


Jared HensleyYou may not think you’d be intimidated by a high school student, but then again, you may not know Jared Hensley. 

He’s intimidating — in a good way. 

“I want to study environmental engineering and apply it to environmental issues,” says Jared, a senior. 

He’s also a musician, and recently played trombone in the all-county jazz concert. An Eagle Scout since Oct. 28, 2014, he’s a well-rounded kid. The grandson of Keith and Linda Hensley, he started applying to scholarships at the end of junior year. 

He did pretty well. 

“Are you gonna write this down?” he asks, before rattling off a long list of schools.

“I got my fees waived, so why not?” he says of the application process.

Why not, indeed. 

He didn’t get into the Ivy League schools of MIT, Yale and Columbia. 

He did get a full scholarship to Duke. And State. And Stanford. And The University of Michigan. And Texas A&M. He was accepted to UNC without even applying. 

“It’s just kinda silly, really,” he says of the whole process. “Honestly, you get used to it after awhile.”

Hensley attended Overton Elementary and North Middle before heading to North. His grandfather is an airplane mechanic, he says, “so I’ve been around engineering my whole life.”

He carries a 4.46 GPA currently, and is tied for first place in his class with two of his best friends. 

And no, he doesn’t care about class rank. 

And yes, he has decided where he’ll go in the fall. 

He made two trips to the University of Michigan, where he toured an earthquake chamber, wind tunnels and huge workshops in the engineering department. 

“I like mechanical engineering,” he admits, “but I’m trying to work toward a goal of solving environmental issues.”

Hensley recently attended a welcome weekend for new students. The farther away from home, he decided, the better.

“I like experiencing new things and traveling,” Hensley says. “The majority of my family lives nearby. My grandmother’s family is there.” 

While in Michigan, Hensley stayed at a 5-star hotel. 

“I never thought this would happen when I was learning multiplication tables,” he admits. 

He recalls his elementary school career with fondness, when he became a part of Anthony Johnson’s Mini Funk Factory at Overton. 

When Johnson told him the program was just for at-risk kids, the young Hensley responded, “I’ll just go get in trouble, then.”

That’s when Johnson opened the band to all Overton students. 

At North, Hensley is part of the Robotics Club, which he helped start freshman year, as well as the concert band, the marching band, the jazz band and the pep band. 

Hensley has a personal project of building a raft out of bamboo and milk jugs, which should hold 1,000 pounds of buoyancy — if his calculations are correct, he says.

“I won’t be content if I don’t finish,” Hensley says, adding he’s also a perfectionist. “That’s why I don’t get anything done.”

He evidently gets stuff done. This semester, he’s taking all AP classes: chemistry, English IV, calculus and physics. He’s also in charge of the English poetry book. 

All good stuff — even though it may seem a little intimidating at first. 

Jared Hensley