David Jones has an inherent love and compassion for others.
In high school, he volunteered at a camp for children with chronic illnesses and gave his time serving the homeless while excelling in the classroom at Massey Hill Classical School.
Now a college freshman, Jones is applying that same passion – coupled with a razor-sharp wit – in his pursuit of a nursing degree at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Jones is the newest Maynor Scholar. As a Maynor Scholar, Jones is the recipient of the Maynor Scholarship, which is the most prestigious four-year scholarship at UNCP.
A pre-nursing major from Fayetteville, Jones is UNCP’s tenth Maynor Scholar. The scholarship was first awarded in 2007.
“I have always had my eyes set on the medical field because I feel I am well-equipped for a supporting role. Individuals working together as a group to achieve a specific goal has always been appealing to me.
“After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school and eventually become a nurse practitioner.”
The selection process is very competitive, however, Jones’ application stood out among an outstanding pool of candidates, according to Dr. Mark Milewicz, dean of the Maynor Honors College.
“He is very bright and has a very impressive academic profile,” Milewicz said.
“David’s writing sample displayed clear and organized thinking, but what impressed the selection committee the most was the value he places on service and his commitment to helping others.
“It isn’t surprising that he is pursuing a profession in healthcare and I suspect he will make a significant impact in that field.”
The value of an education and its immeasurable impact was a recurring message in the Jones household.
“My mother, especially, always stressed that we should focus on getting a good education first,” he said. “Education is where you form your building blocks she would often say.
“My dad stressed education, too, but his advice to me was to make sure that when things get tough with the school, to make sure my happiness came first.”
Jones excelled academically in high school, graduating with a weighted GPA of 4.5. He placed first in several events as a Science Olympiad participant, served as senior class representative, and was a member of the Academy of Scholars. Massey Hill doesn’t offer sports, but Jones was a member of the varsity soccer and track and field teams at nearby Seventy First High.
When it came time to choose a college, Jones turned to his parents for advice.
“I was considering ECU and Chapel Hill, but my parents recommended UNC Pembroke,” he said. “After looking into it, UNCP was a better fit because of its size.”
Like UNCP, the classes at Massey Hill are small. There were 70 students in Jones’ graduating class. The university’s low student-faculty ratio appealed to Jones.
“That was the biggest factor in my decision,” he said. “The professors take the time to get to know you on a personal level. And that’s something you can’t get at the larger schools.”
Jones is off to an exemplary start to his college career, earning a spot on the Chancellor’s List his first semester. But he says the transition from high school wasn’t easy.
“In college you must learn to manage your own time. There is no one here to hold your hand. It was a little challenging at first.”
For David, his motivation to excel can be traced to sacrifices his parents made before he was born. His father, David Jones Jr., was in the Army and stationed in South Korea when he met Mi Young in 1991.
Young returned to the United States with her future husband to start a family. After hearing their story, the younger David vowed to honor his parents with his studies in high school and college.
“I see failure on my part as a betrayal of their hard work and dedication, and so I refuse to let myself be anything but a high quality student.
“My mother left her home and her family when she was 21,” he said. “And she hasn’t been back to South Korea since then. It’s been 25 years. Both my parents, especially my mother, have made many sacrifices in order to get my sister, Danielle, and I to the point we are right now. It’s my responsibility and my duty to follow through with my education and be the best student I can be.
“I am really grateful, not just for myself, but for my family as a whole because of the struggles they went through for me to go to college. I can’t really express into words what it means to be selected as a UNCP Maynor Scholar.”