Though he attended 8th grade in the Ivory Coast, Jordan Walendom and his family moved around quite a bit while he was growing up. So much so that it's hard to pin down where “home” is for him. In fact, he wrote a college essay about why he considers Saint James to be his home.
Jordan feels the biggest growth he’s made personally is how he talks to people.
“I know being here has made all the difference for me socially, just to be able to talk to people and especially building relationships with adults,” he said. “Prior to this it was strictly if you were an adult you were either a teacher or someone I respected too much to have a conversation with, and Saint James has completely flipped that ideology for me.”
Jordan served as Senior Prefect this year, a role he never could have imagined himself in when he arrived at Saint James. He found it to be mentally taxing but an excellent learning opportunity.
“It was hard never having concrete validation of whether you’re doing a good job or doing the right thing, and having to trust yourself that whatever you’re doing is working or see evidence that it’s not and try to change it,” he said.
Jordan was a member of the varsity tennis team and varsity soccer team, where he earned First Team All-County honors. He was also a member of the Saint James Chapel Choir, something he said was a spontaneous decision the summer before he started.
“I never thought I’d sing in a choir for a ridiculous amount of hours per week for four years, but it’s become an integral part of my life here,” he said.
Jordan said he will miss the sense of community.
“The fact that within my high school experience I was able to be neighbors with my best friends was incredibly rewarding,” he said. “I cherish the fact that I had that.”
Jordan will attend Brown University, where he plans to study computer science.
At Commencement, Jordan received the Bishop's Prize, by tradition the School's highest prize and greatest honor. It is awarded to a member of the Sixth Form who has contributed the most to the long-range, long-term welfare of the School, either by accomplishment or by personal example.
Jordan had important words to share for new students.
“Don’t feel the need for everything to come at once. High school is a process. I remember my third form year looking at sixth formers and being in complete awe and veneration of them not really understanding how one gets there,” he said. “But it’s a four-year process and you don’t need to be everything you think you want to be in your third form year before life does its job.”