Strake standout runner Ammons commits to Harvard

October 22, 2013

R.J. Ammons, a senior at Houston's Strake Jesuit, will be running for Harvard next year.

After receiving interest from a number of prestigious programs from around the country, including those at Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Rice and Stanford, R.J. officially committed to Harvard after receiving one of that university's highly prized Likely Letters from its Dean of Admissions this week.

Ken Lojo, Principal of Strake Jesuit, states, "I'm pleased to say that R.J. is a wonderful example of what we hope to achieve with all our students here at Strake Jesuit. His outstanding dedication to academics and athletics is evident to all.

In addition to his many achievements in these areas, Ammons has sought ways to exemplify one of our primary mottos, 'men-for-others.' His dedication to serving others makes him much more than a great student or athlete. We are proud of his accomplishments and have every confidence that he will shine at Harvard."

R.J. will be the fifth student from Strake Jesuit to attend Harvard in the past seven years.

During his four years at Strake Jesuit, R.J. has been a member of the Principal's Honor Roll, National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars and the Strake Jesuit Think Tank. While at Strake Jesuit, R.J. founded Athletes Taking Action, a service club of athletes from Strake Jesuit and St. Agnes College Preparatory Schools. The club is the largest in school history, with over 200 members, and is also one of the most active clubs, providing community service year round in the greater Houston area. The members volunteer with many events, including Challenger Sports, Special Olympics, and Steps for Students.

Additionally, the members have a Christmas toy drive for the patients at Texas Children's Hospital and provide assistance at various homeless shelters. Throughout his high school years, R.J. has been a dedicated volunteer at The Beacon, a local homeless shelter that provides meals to those in need. During his summers and holidays, R.J. has spent hundreds of hours preparing and serving food to the homeless at The Beacon.

R.J. has been involved in cross country and track since he was 11 years old, winning numerous events throughout the years, and he is currently the Captain of Strake Jesuit's Varsity Cross County and Track Team.

Coach Michael Kerley, Head Coach of Strake Jesuit's Varsity Cross Country and Track teams, reflects, "R.J. is an incredible worker and has developed into a mature team leader and Captain. He leads by example and motivates the young team members. They really look up to R.J. The best of his high school career may yet come as he has dreams of several records this spring. It has been a pleasure to work with R.J."

On the track, R.J. specializes in the 3200m and 1600m races. R.J.’s time of 9:03.60 in the 3200 earned him a third place medal in the UIL State meet and a national ranking among high school juniors. Additionally, R.J. was the only member of the Strake Jesuit cross country team to receive UIL All State Honors in 2012. R.J.’s achievements in track and cross country gained the attention of Coach Jason Saretsky, the Track & Field/Cross-Country Coach at Harvard.

"I feel that Coach Jason Saretsky, Harvard's head cross country and track coach, has a clear vision for his team and for my next four years," Ammons said. "When I received the call from Harvard Admissions, I felt honored and privileged to be accepted to Harvard. I am really excited that I'll be running for this program and continuing my education at Harvard." Ammons said.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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