8-year-old’s viral video leads to early acceptance to UNT

8-year-old’s viral video leads to early acceptance to UNT

8-year-old’s viral video leads to early acceptance to UNT
October 14
14:43 2016

An 8-year-old student from Garland, Texas is now the youngest person in UNT’s history to be accepted.

Jordin Phipps, a third grader from Watson Technology Center for Math and Science, was given early acceptance on Sept. 30, after a video displaying her school spirit went viral. But Phipps was awarded more than early acceptance to UNT, a $10,000 scholarship that Smatresk said has never been awarded to anyone before.

The mother of third grader Jordin Phipps posted a video on her Facebook page of her reciting her class creed, but added a North Texas touch to it.

Third grader Jordin Phipps attends school at the Watson Technology Center for Math & Science. The school is located in Garland, Texas. Hannah Breland

Third grader Jordin Phipps attends school at the Watson Technology Center for Math & Science. The school is located in Garland, Texas. Hannah Breland

The video went viral within a few days, and UNT president Neal Smatresk said the second he heard about the video, he wanted Phipps to join the Mean Green family.

“I use Google News alerts, and when I got an alert about her video and desire to be an Eagle, I promptly called our vice president of admissions and said, ‘let’s get her a scholarship,'” Smatresk said. “The video was cute, and she is a great role model for her classmates.”

Phipps, whose mother is a UNT alumna, said she wants to keep playing soccer and become an engineer some day, both of which she wants to do at UNT.

“I want to be an engineer because I like to build things,” Phipps said. “For steam school we do remote-control machines, and for practice we build paper and build towers that hold beanie babies.”

Cynesha Hobbs, Phipps’ social studies and english language arts teacher, is the person who is responsible for teaching her students the creed they recite every morning before class starts.

Hobbs credits the creed to the teacher who mentored her when she first began teaching 10 years ago at Cedar Hill, and wants her students to recite the creed to remind them of their duties as respectful citizens and students.

“At first it was picking up Twitter feed so I was like, ‘oh that’s nice,'” Hobbs said. “The acceptance is shocking. I was thinking, ‘oh my goodness,’ and when I found out she said the creed I say every morning I  was like, ‘what?’ That’s cool.'”

Principal at Watson, Chris Grey, said he wants teachers to emphasize the importance of a college education every day, and continue to think about their futures.

“We highlight the importance of college, whether it be myself, or someone encouraging kids to follow their dreams and goals on the announcements in the morning,” Grey said. “Mrs. Hobbs taught Jordin the creed, she shows the power of the teacher and youth. They recite the pledge every day that the students set the course for their own futures and expectations for what they can accomplish.”

Watson has partnerships with schools around the metroplex, including UNT, Richland college, Eastfield college, and Texas A&M Commerce. These partnerships involve campus tours that Grey said helps the students picture themselves in college.

The video was filmed one day, when her mom asked her what she does when she first gets to Mrs. Hobbs’ class.

“My mom asked me to say it [the creed], and she asked me if I wanted to do it for North Texas and she recorded it and I asked her to post it on Facebook, and she did,” Phipps said. “It’s cool being on national news. Dr. Brown said we were going to look at castles, and I believed him. Then cheerleaders came in and said there’s someone who wants to go to UNT, and they called my name.”

Smatresk has a special set of awards that is given in unusual cases, like Phipp’s. She will receive it upon her graduation from high school in 2026.

“The award Jordin will receive is the Presidential Leadership Award, and I hope she ends up coming here and being in the class of 2030,” Smatresk said. “Something tells me she will be a highly ranked woman, and she is highly motivated.”

Hobbs said that Phipps has a spark to her, and an antsy personality. Reminding her to stay grounded is a big part of Hobbs’ job as her teacher, and wants to make that a lasting impact.

“Because it’s a magnet school, the kids know they’re smart. Jordin is intelligent and has that drive,” Hobbs said. “Reciting the creed helps them work on the productive citizen part, how to help the world and changing outcomes. My mentor used this creed, and I am what I am because she poured so much into me. We said it every day, and it’s a tool I had that dusted off that I used here.”

Third grader Jordin Phipps works on a class assignment for her English Language Arts class. Hannah Breland

Third grader Jordin Phipps works on a class assignment for her English Language Arts class. Hannah Breland

As for the grounded part, Phipps said her friends are just as excited as she is for the acceptance.

“It was exciting when I found out, my parents asked me if I was excited and they said they were excited and they said they were proud of me,” Phipps said. “My friends all gave me a big hug and said they wanted my [albino] squirrel they gave me.”

The news made national headlines, on shows such as Good Morning America and ABC News.

Even though the national news made the short video blow up fast and overwhelmed everyone, Grey said he was excited for Phipps and all of the opportunities this will open up for her in the future.

“She is overwhelmed by the attention. It’s really cool to see teachers make a difference and reinforces value that shapes Jordins’ life forever,” Grey said. “It’s a great story about power of a teacher and primary job is to motivate and inspire to motivate students. Her personality is not wanting to be in the middle of attention, and I asked her if she was tired of this attention and she said ‘yeah, a little.'”

Featured Image: Third grader Jordin Phipps smiles for a photo before going to her music class. Phipps was offered early acceptance and a $10,000 scholarship to UNT. Hannah Breland 

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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