Junior Student Spotlight: Ethan Jadon Maciel

Parents: Esmeralda Mendez and Eduardo Maciel

Previous Schools: Olmito Elementary (PreK-K), Rancho Verde Elementary (1-5), Resaca Middle School

Preferred College: University of Texas at Austin

Preferred Major: Astronautical engineering

School activities: Engineering Club, Acceptance to NASA High School Aerospace Program, American Mathematics Competition (AMC) 10, Career Scholars Program, Distinguished Academic Scholars Program, DECA, National Honor Society, Swimming, Diving, and Water Polo, FCA.

Class rank: Top 2 percent

Inspiration for academic success: My parents inspire me to do my best. My mom worked hard in college -–even with unfavorable conditions – and became a respiratory therapist. I have also seen my dad work every day to grow the business that he has now. It has not gone unnoticed that I have seen how hard my parents worked, even through challenges much worse than what I have gone through. I grew up seeing the sacrifices they made, and I realize that if they could get through all of their challenges and still become what they are then I have no excuse for not reaching and surpassing the goals I want to reach.

Life challenges: I would never say I have a perfect life, but I know that many of the challenges that I face are incomparable to what many other people have to go through. The biggest challenge that I have faced is being able to balance all the clubs and sports I am part of with all the Dual and Honors classes that I take. A lot of the time, I am bombarded with a huge workload from my classes. During a normal school year, I would have all that work and still go to practice until 6 p.m. Mixing this with some procrastination adds a lot of unneeded stress. 

Motivation for success: I always fight for every point. I will never be satisfied with anything less than a perfect score. This does not mean I always score the highest, but I will do everything I can to get closer and closer to a 100. I have also had access to the online grade book since 9th grade, and check it almost daily to make sure I am not missing any assignments or scoring too low in a class. I am not perfect, and I still procrastinate and make silly mistakes, but those are things I will keep on working on.

Balance of academics and school activities: I have tried many things to balance school activities and school work. For a few years, I tried keeping a planner with assignments and due dates on it. It worked well, and it kept me on track enough to submit all my assignments on time. However, the reality is I have enough time to finish most assignments in class. While we were in school, I would keep a folder in my hand with all the work I had to get done. It was the first thing I would put on my desk at the start of any class. As soon as I had any free time, I would knock out as much as I can. Doing this every day turned so much wasted time into something productive.

Career goals: For now, I plan to be an astronautical/aerospace engineer. In middle school, I fell in love with space and space exploration. SpaceX and NASA have really inspired me when choosing a career path. Like many others, I am excited to see humans go back to the moon and see the first man go to Mars. If in any way I was able to make a significant impact on its progression, I want to be a part of it. Secondly, I know it is a good-paying job. I want to give back to my parents, family, and even teachers with the money that I would earn. There have been so many people who walked alongside me all my life. They are a big part of what I am now and what I am going to become. I have big dreams that will only have been achievable because of the people that helped me get there.