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West Jordan Journal

CHHS outstanding graduate: The total package

May 30, 2022 06:05PM ● By Jet Burnham

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Ethan Hepworth, outstanding graduate of Copper Hills High School, is the kind of student that inspires both students and teachers.

“Ethan is the most impressive student I have had the awesome privilege of working with—and not just because of his academic prowess—but because Ethan is the whole package,” U.S. history teacher Andrea Hinojosa said. “He is a hard worker, a talented writer, a strong conversationalist, an informed and impassioned citizen, a good friend, a compassionate leader, a grateful student and an all-around nice human being. I can't wait for the day that I'll be able to say ‘I knew him when …’ because Ethan is going places!”

Ethan’s intelligence is undeniable, but it is how he uses his knowledge that impresses his teachers most. Humanities teacher McKenzie Catten said that while many smart kids like to show off, as the smartest in the room, Ethan “elevates everyone's level of awareness and knowledge.”

“He challenges those around him to think at higher levels and he does it without an air of superiority but with a humility that makes him so approachable,” Catten said.

Catten said that Ethan’s enthusiasm for learning inspires her to be a better teacher. His “insatiable desire to continue to learn” helped her to persevere through the challenge of teaching virtually in the spring of 2020.

“Few students showed up for my Zoom classes, and most kept their cameras off, but I always saw Ethan's face; he was always taking notes and engaging with me, which helped keep me going,” she said.

Language arts teacher Jeremie James has also been inspired by Ethan, whom he calls a “dream student.”

“A student like Ethan is rare,” he said. “He is thoughtful and considerate. He is articulate and reasonable. He is knowledgeable and curious. He is comprised of many of the characteristics that I aspire to.”

James regularly uses Ethan’s work as writing examples for his advanced classes. Catten said Ethan’s intelligence and writing skills were apparent in the first essay he wrote as a sophomore in her AP European history class.

“I realized he was not just any student, he was extraordinary,” she said. “I am now 16 years into my teaching career, and I can think of less than a handful of students with Ethan's abilities.”

Ethan is academically impressive: a National Merit Scholar, CHHS Mathematics Sterling Scholar and AP Scholar with distinction. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, German Club and Hiking Club (which he co-founded), and participated in the Madrigals performance choir and the annual school musical.

His parents, Donald and Cynthia Hepworth, have been impressed with Ethan’s ability to maintain a balanced schedule.

“Ethan is just really dedicated to anything that he does,” said his mother. “He just really is committed to following through and he doesn't require any follow-up on our part.”

Ethan said he has learned the value of working hard.

“Even when it seems rewardless, if you keep pushing and doing your best to be a good person and a good student, then the opportunities will come, even if they're unexpected, but they will come and you'll be rewarded if you put in the work,” he said.

Teachers are impressed with Ethan’s willingness to help others.

Hinojosa said Ethan is self-assured and approachable so that his peers gravitate to him. That is why she asked him to be a peer tutor in the school’s Writing Center and Learning Lab for the past two years.

“In addition to being a very confident and capable writer, Ethan has incredible knowledge in a variety of subject areas,” Hinojosa said. “These attributes, combined with his positive and approachable personality, make him an extremely valuable member of the peer tutor team. In this role, Ethan is responsible, dependable, patient and kind.”

Ethan enjoys helping others with their studies.

“I try to always be an inclusive person who, if people are struggling in class or they have a question, they always feel like they can come talk to me,” Ethan said.

His passion for helping others is a factor in his future plans. Ethan, who recently won the Westminster College Civility in Public Life Essay Contest, will be studying political science.

“I hope to eventually enter the world of government and politics because I feel like, since the government is the one thing in everybody's life, that affects everyone in the world, it’s the one place where widespread change can be affected and affected quickly,” he said.