Jordan Rowlette of Lowell, Massachusetts, came to NMH specifically to join the school’s championship wrestling team. And he quickly established himself, earning a New England championship in his weight class and competing in the National Prep Tournament two years in a row.
Along the way, however, “something else clicked,” he says. “To be honest, I had a hard time when I first got here with the progressive ideas — the way no one is narrowly defined. I didn’t understand it. But the broad spectrum of people here made me diversify my opinions. I realized we really have to appreciate other people, and allow them to be who they are. I’ve met a lot of different kids, and I look up to them all.”
Jordan attended a charter elementary school, a suburban middle school, and a Catholic high school before landing at NMH, where, off the wrestling mat, everything was unfamiliar. “English classes, especially,” he says. “It wasn’t what I was used to. It wasn’t coming into the classroom and sitting in rows and listening to your teacher tell you what to think about the stuff you read the night before. It’s you presenting and solidifying your own ideas.” Despite being intimidated, Jordan dove in. He cites his Islamic Middle East class as his most difficult class, but also his favorite. He says, “I enjoy stepping up. If the challenge isn’t there, I don’t achieve nearly as much. That’s what’s great about NMH. Challenge is everywhere, and it’s positive challenge — the kind that strengthens your perspective of the world.”
Reflecting on his NMH career, Jordan says he’s changed most in how he views education. “I always knew school was important because it can help you get a job, but now I see how it can help shape your life. If you don’t understand how the economy works, how can you plan for a family? If you don’t understand Islam, isn’t it easier to draw the conclusion that Syrian refugees are inherently evil?”
Jordan currently has his eye on law school after college because, he says with a laugh, “Me and my mom, we argue all the time.” Changing his tone, he adds, “In the U.S. criminal justice system, a lot of people need to be helped out. Ignoring the voices of people who’ve always been ignored doesn’t help anyone.”
Jordan: Wrestling with a Challenge