Straight-A student Nick Pontius, 18, finds pleasure in mentoring younger kids, a trait his former teacher Donna Brewer said is a testament to his patience.
“He was willing to come in after school and tutor other students in any content of math,” said Brewer, Copperas Cove High School math teacher. “He cares about other people and is really good at breaking things down to the basics.”
Pontius graduated from Copperas Cove High School this past June. He scored a 1750 on the SAT’s and had a 3.9 GPA during his senior year.
His extracurricular activities included being co-captain of varsity wrestling, captain of varsity swimming, a member of National Junior Honor Society and student council spirit committee chair.
By far, he said, swimming and wrestling are his strong suits.
“I love swimming, because I like the feel of the water, but then wrestling has the mental factor that I like also.”
Pontius, a self-proclaimed math enthusiast, works as a math tutor both in and out of school.
This year, his efforts earned him a Texas Scholar’s Award for logging more than 100 hours of volunteer work for Cove High School.
Dedicated to helping others, Pontius works with other groups outside the school. He is a member of the Grace United Methodist Church youth group in Copperas Cove and a swim instructor at the Killeen Boys and Girls Club.
Pontius parents, Laura and Raymond Pontius, always stressed the importance of education, using their life experiences as examples for their children, he said.
“Both of them didn’t go to college right out of high school, so they kind of struggled to go back and get degrees, so that we could be well off,” Pontius said.
In the fall, Pontius will study chemistry at the University of Texas San Antonio.
“I’m a fan of the sciences and math - it’s like my forte,” he said. “I’m also really interested in the health field, so I’m pursuing a graduate degree in pharmacy.”
Pontius will be the first member of his family to become a fulltime student at a four-year university, he said.
This was no shock to Brewer, she said.
“He’s always on top of things and ahead of the game when it comes to his work load, which was very demanding,” Brewer said. “He’s very intelligent. He’ll go a long way.”
In his spare time, the teenager enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking and mountain biking.
“I’m a fitness nut so you can usually find me at the pool, at the gym or outdoors,” Pontius said.
The words of wisdom he leaves for other students are to focus more energy on school work rather than sitting on the couch watching TV.
“That little bit of time you have at home, when you’re done doing what you wanted to do, studying should definitely be at the top of your list,” Pontius said. “I didn’t study, and my grades could’ve been better if I did.”