The face of success: A guy named Jordan

Posted in: Society
By Kaye Collier
May 23, 2013 - 9:12:51 AM

Jordan Van BuskirkIf an 18-year-old could be considered a Renaissance man, Jordan Van Buskirk would certainly be a strong candidate for that designation.
Not only is he a talented athlete, but he is also a brilliant scholar and a dedicated Christian.
Jordan obviously approaches every new challenge with fervor and commitment, and it shows.
With a composite score of 32 on the ACT, including a perfect score of 36 on the reading portion of the test, along with his unweighted 4.0 GPA at Marlow High School, the fact that he is highly knowledgeable in a variety of fields of study is undeniable.
Moreover, his Academic All-State selection this spring—one of only 100 seniors statewide tapped for the honor by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence—is a clear indication of his scholastic prowess.
Jordan has played football for the Outlaws since he was knee-high to a goalpost, participated in league soccer for several years, and ran track in middle school.
Furthermore, at his home church, the Chisholm Trail Church of Christ in Duncan, he is fully engaged in just about every aspect of ministry available to someone his age.
If this portrait-in-a-nutshell wouldn’t qualify Jordan for the Renaissance “short list,” Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Newton would probably turn over in their respective graves.
Readin’, writin’
and ’rithmetic
Phil and Gina Van Buskirk welcomed their first child, a son, on December 8, 1994, in Oklahoma City and named him Jordan Phillip. Three years later, the family grew to include daughter Aubrey; and after three more years, son Parker arrived.
When Jordan was still quite young, Phil accepted a position with a bank in Duncan and moved his family there. Gina became a substitute teacher at various schools in the county and liked the educational opportunities she knew her children would receive in the Marlow schools, so the family soon relocated to Outlaw country.
Phil is currently chief lending officer at the Halliburton credit union, and Gina teaches pre-K at Marlow Elementary School.
During his years at MES, Jordan’s first-grade teacher, Della Cobb, captured his heart. She must have helped him build a sound foundation in reading, because he would go on to win several Accelerated Reader awards.
“I just loved to read,” he recalled.
He would still enjoy that pursuit, he indicated, if he had time for it. He does, however, find the time for any and all reading associated with acquiring knowledge.
That much is obvious. Jordan graduated from Marlow High School last week as salutatorian of his class.
Other scholastic honors included induction into the National Honor Society, the Oklahoma Honor Society, and the 28+ Club, a distinction reserved for students attaining a score of at least 28 on the ACT.
During the Outlaw Achievement Day ceremonies throughout his years at MHS, he was recognized for his performance in U.S. history, AP American history, AP English II, biology, chemistry, Algebra II, trigonometry/precalculus, and calculus.
If a student excels in such a broad range of subjects, he apparently has a high degree of natural intelligence, great study habits and a determination to succeed.
In addition to school-related honors, Jordan was also a finalist in the annual Cotton Electric essay contest his junior year, and a recipient of the Woodmen of the World award for superior performance in American history the same spring.
And then there’s that “thing” known as Academic All-State.
Jordan’s extracurricular activities included Student Council, for which he served as vice-president and parliamentarian, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
This spring, he served as a legislative page for state Rep. Scott Biggs.
Although he has no designs on a political career, “I learned a lot that I didn’t know about the legislative process,” he noted. Besides observing the process in real time, a mock legislature conducted for, and by, the pages themselves provided hands-on experience in how laws are enacted, he said.
From the age of 4 through his freshman year, Jordan played soccer, primarily with the CTSA in Duncan, but he also spent one year with a traveling team, the Mavericks. His customary position was in midfield.
“I loved soccer. That’s by far my favorite sport,” he noted. “I’ve run track and I’ve played football, but soccer’s my passion.”
Though Jordan is no longer actively involved in the sport, he stays physically fit and remains a fan of the Houston Dynamo pro soccer team to this day.
He has served as a lifeguard at Marlow’s municipal pool the past two summers; and he recently ran in a non-competitive 5K heat at what’s termed the “Dirty 30” in Mulhall, finishing a grueling obstacle course called a “mud run.” Furthermore, he plans to participate in the Carter 5K this Saturday.
Jordan is an avid supporter of the Outlaw sports programs.
“If there’s a sporting event, I’m generally at it,” he said.
He’s also an OU fan through the influence of a man he comically referred to as “my Uncle Die-Hard,” and he follows the OKC Thunder.
Devotion to
Christian principles
At the Chisholm Trail Church of Christ, Jordan is a faithful member who is actively involved in youth activities.
Since third grade, he has participated in an annual Bible Bowl hosted by the church that is designed to test the young competitors’ knowledge of the Bible. Eight to 10 churches from Oklahoma and Texas enter the contest every year; and in his age division, Jordan has placed first once and second three times.
As a member of the church’s drama team, he wrote the script for last year’s presentation and also appeared in the production.
He has attended an annual two-day event called Leadership Training for Christ in Rogers, Arkansas, for the past nine years; and he has twice participated in a church-sponsored mission trip to inner-city Houston.
Nevertheless, he defined the time he spends at Camp Lu-Jo (church camp) near Faxon every summer as “the best week of the year.”
Jordan’s desire to reach out to others has also been reflected in his willingness to assist with Oklahoma’s Special Olympics, to volunteer at the Samaritans’ food bank, and to perform other community-service activities through the school’s Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) program.
In what little leisure time he has, he enjoys hanging out with friends and going to the movies, with action and comedy films his favorites.
Engineering a
bright future
Jordan’s graduation last week threw open the door to a promising future. He plans to attend Oklahoma Christian University (OC) in Edmond and major in mechanical engineering.
His accomplishments thus far have secured him two major scholarship offers from the university. In addition to a Presidential Scholarship worth $10,000 a year for four years, he has been offered one of the school’s Christian Engineering Scholarships.
The latter will provide $4,000 toward his education at OC the first year; $10,000 his sophomore year; and a full tuition waiver his junior and senior years. Jordan can accept either, but not both; and because tuition at a private school like OC is considerably higher than that at a public university, he has decided to accept the engineering scholarship.
Not surprisingly, Jordan is already enrolled for the fall semester. Two of his classes as a first-semester freshman, believe it or not, are engineering mathematics and Calculus I. He has been told that the former is a “weeding-out” course designed to discourage those who can’t, or won’t, make the grade.
Accepting challenges is certainly nothing new for Jordan Van Buskirk, and he doesn’t intend to start avoiding them now.
“I’m not really looking forward to taking that class,” he confessed, “but I’ll stay with it.”
After completing his undergraduate studies toward a bachelor of science, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
The way Jordan sees it now, he will then have two major options to consider: seek a position with Halliburton, or perhaps apply with NASA or Boeing Aircraft.
And eventually, he’d like to have a family.
Whatever path Jordan ultimately takes, one thing is certain—he will make it a trip worth taking.

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