Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the 25 Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. The students will be honored during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.
Student: William Hardaway
School: Peninsula High School
Category: Academic Achievement
William Hardaway is an achiever. He’s captain of the varsity track team, taken 18 AP/Honors courses and played in the Knowledge Bowl since his freshman year. He’s also a student pilot with more than 20 hours of flying time and he has earned three Silver Palms as an Eagle Scout.
This fall, thanks to a recommendation from U. S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, William is headed to the U.S. Naval Academy to study aerospace engineering and “work on the R&D side” in the military.
Many of William’s Eagle Scout activities were related to his career aspirations. He earned badges in space exploration, robotics and astronomy, to name a few.
He’s also captain of the PHS speech and debate team (his favorite school activity) and his favorite debate topics have been about space exploration by big corporations, he said.
He’s especially proud of the work he did for his Eagle Scout project – mapping and installing trail markers in the Rotary Bark Park. “I tried to use GPS tracking, but a lot of the foliage along the trails is too dense. So I spent many hours every weekend just walking the trails.”
With the data he collected, he designed 30 maps and installed them at orienteering points along the paths. His cross country team trains in the park and occasionally he and his teammates have had to find runners who’ve gotten lost.
“Making the maps was a very rewarding way to help improve my community,” he said.
PHS History teacher Kyle Kendall calls William “an exceptional student with a sharp mind and friendly disposition.”
During the pandemic when classes were fully digital, William “showed how consistent he is. He was one of the few students who consistently engaged, at a high level, in the daily lessons and activities and regularly stayed after class was done to ask questions and discuss the content or a tangential topic of interest,” Kendal said.
Outside of school, when participating in Knowledge Bowl and debates, “…William’s broad array of interests and his expansive knowledge base were instrumental in the team’s success in competitions,” Kendall added.
For William, the biggest challenge during high school was time management.
“I would have the energy and enthusiasm to tackle a class or club, but really struggled with properly distributing my time,” he said. He started making lists and using a planner, and “by learning greater organization I found activities to be far less stressful and far more enjoyable.”
William’s advice to younger students just entering high school is to keep a strict sleep schedule.
“Not having the energy you need to perform at you peak is a killer,” he said. “Also to just try new clubs and activities you normal wouldn’t. High school is a great opportunity to explore new hobbies and skills.”
Parents: Christina and John Hardaway
Activities/Accomplishments: 18 AP/Honors courses; President’s Award for Educational Excellence: AP Scholar of Distinction; Capstone Diploma; Eagle Scout + 3 Silver Palms; Ad Alare Dei – Boy Scout Religious Award; Cross Country Varsity – Captain; Scholar athlete; Speech & Debate, Knowledge Bowl – Captain; National Honor Society; Air Scouts; Track & Field; Student Pilot; Environmental Club; church youth group
Favorite teacher: Mr. Kendal – “He has guided me throughout my entire time at Peninsula. He was my Speech and Debate coach, Knowledge Bowl coach, APUSH teacher and my AP Poli Sci teacher. The lessons and support that he has given me have prepared me to succeed at whatever I put my mind to.”
Best thing about PHS: “Peninsula is not only extremely welcoming and accepting, but also truly cares about its students’ education and wellbeing. I know that I would not have accomplished and learned so much without the kindness and caring of every teacher and staff member. Teachers and counselors bend over backward to support the students, ensuring they have everything they need. For me this came in the form of guidance through my advanced schedule and numerous school clubs.”
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