Class of 2014 grad says Baldwin High School prepared him for challenges ahead
Nick Joslyn will graduate Saturday from Baldwin High School with a list of honors and accomplishments that fill two pages.
It’s a list that keeps growing as in recent weeks he has be named a 2014 Kansas Governor’s Scholar as one of the top 1 percent of the state's 2014 class, a Kansas Honor Scholar and a Lawrence Journal-World and Topeka Capital-Journal academic all-star.
Despite his 4.0 grade point average, Joslyn doesn’t see himself as much different than many of his classmates. He said he was a member of a class who both challenged and supported him throughout his four-year high school career.
“This year was special,” he said. “I had multiple advance placement courses this year. A lot of times, I was traveling to those classes with the same students. If we didn’t know the answer to a problem, we would work together to find the answer or find out how to get the answer from working through the problem together.
“Baldwin High School has a unique environment, because we have students who really like to learn and work together. We all push each other.”
Joslyn’s academic interests are math and science. They are interests Joslyn will further pursue this summer as the Kansas delegate to the National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia.
“They have guest speakers, seminars and hands-on laboratory exercises,” he said. “Last year, they dissected a human hand.”
The camp will be a springboard to his enrolling late this summer at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, where he has earned an academic scholarship that will provide his tuition and a $3,000 travel stipend.
Joslyn said he explored other options, including a full-ride soccer scholarship from Eastern Illinois University, before deciding on Simpson, where he will again team with his brother Louis on the school’s soccer team. His brother, now a sophomore and straight-A student studying math and computer science, paved the way to the school, but Joslyn said he was sure it was also the right choice for him.
“The head of the math department was an avid recruiter of Louis,” he said. “The same thing happened to me. I have a personal relationship with the head of the math department. They have a great math department.
“Division III soccer is very competitive and not that much different than Division I. I’m excited about getting on the soccer field at Simpson and getting started in the level of academics.”
He plans a double major in math and an as-yet-undetermined science field with a minor in computer science, Joslyn said. He may be following his brother’s footsteps to Simpson, but he doesn’t plan to pursue an academic career like his father, Mark, a Kansas University political science professor, and mother, Mary, a nursing instructor with Neosho County Community College.
“I’m looking at applied sciences,” he said. “What I want to do is get into scientific research.”
With his focus on science and math, it might be surprising that Joslyn’s favorite high school teacher is English instructor Rachael Smith.
“I had her my freshman year for English Composition I,” he said. “Her classes are really rigorous. I had to learn time management, and my writing skills improved tremendously. She made me work hard as a student, but I appreciated it.”
Joslyn uses many of the same words when recalling the approach of his high school soccer coach, who happens to be his father. The Baldwin Bulldog soccer team has earned a spot in the 1A-4A state tournament the past three years and last fall played its way into its first-ever berth in the final-four playoffs.
“It was really fun playing for my dad,” said Joslyn, a two-time all-state soccer selection. “I learned a lot of lessons. He instilled in us that every practice and every game counted. He challenged us to work hard and work together and that if we did those things we could be successful.”
As senior class president, Joslyn’s role in Saturday’s Class of 2014 graduation will be to introduce this year’s guest speaker, former BHS teacher and coach Ginny Honomichl. In that role, he won’t be able to relate how the past four years have prepared him for what’s ahead. Those would be positive words, Joslyn said.
“I was able to take the tough classes I needed,” he said. “I developed personal relationships with my teachers, who challenged me. I learned all the skills I needed to succeed. I learned time management. I learned to push myself and was pushed by others around me.”