Jacob Desman Named BCT Teen Excellence Award Winner

Article and Photo from Burlington County Times, Sunday June 5, 2016:

Jacob Desman has always been able to shoulder the load, even in times of adversity. A junior at Moorestown Friends School, Jacob has spent his high school career learning to excel.

Academically, he has challenged himself with honors and Advanced Placement classes, rising to the occasion by making the honor roll nearly every quarter. Jacob’s scholastic talents, however, are matched by his musical and artistic gifts. A saxophone player since fourth grade, the Moorestown resident performs in two school ensembles.

Jacob has found a way to use his artistic inclinations to serve the community. As a volunteer at Westfield Friends School in Cinnaminson, Jacob is painting a mural in the dining hall in addition to supervising children during summer camp. At MoorArts, a nonprofit art organization, Jacob was able to update the group’s web presence by building a database, designing email templates and revamping the website.

In athletics, Jacob’s hard work and dedication have led to success in school and beyond. In addition to being selected as captain of the varsity fencing team, he is ranked nationally, qualifying for the 2015 Summer Nationals, and competing in the 2016 Junior Olympics.

But Jacob’s biggest challenge was this: “On March 25, 2014 … I learned I would have surgery in two days. I had dislocated my shoulder nine months prior, but had never realized,” he wrote in his Teen Excellence essay.

Persevering through months of physical therapy, the teen developed an interest in physical therapy and nutrition, and the effects they had on his successful recovery.

“I am interested in pursuing a medical discipline in order to help people, whether it’s through injury rehabilitation or surgery,” Jacob wrote.

Ashlynne Hunt Thomson, assistant director of college counseling at MFS, described Jacob as “a true Renaissance man.”

“Jacob’s presence at Moorestown Friends and in the community is unassuming yet powerful; his intelligence, strong moral compass, respect for others and team play make him a wonderful leader and person,” Thomson wrote in her nomination letter.

Even with so many accomplishments, Jacob has remained humble and thoughtful.

“My recovery may have felt like the longest four months of my life, but its effect has changed my entire outlook. … It was just as much a rebuilding of the mind.”

Age: 17

School: Moorestown Friends School

Parents: Jeff Desman and Beth Feldman

Hobbies: Fencing; playing music

Favorite music: Jazz

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite sport: Fencing

Last book read: “Beloved”

Favorite websites: YouTube

Person most admired: His father

Plans for next year: Continuing to expand his musical knowledge and to improve his fencing

Career goal: Biomedical engineering