Student Spotlight: John Hess

INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER
Niskayuna Senior John Hess poses with the new equipment he built for the Niskayuna Dog Park. 
Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER Niskayuna Senior John Hess poses with the new equipment he built for the Niskayuna Dog Park. Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.

BY INDIANA NASH

Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA- Senior class president, John Hess, has presidential hopes that reach beyond this last year at Niskayuna High School.

“My goal in life is to become the president of the United States,” Hess admitted.

For now, though, he’s focusing on leading the senior class, the Politics and Current Events club, reaching eagle scout status, co-directing youth court and co-captaining mock trial.

The list is impressive, but what has most recently garnered the attention and appreciation from the community this summer is his work at the Niskayuna Dog Park.

Where there used to be only a field for local dogs to play, there are now weave polls, a dog jump, a see-saw and an A-frame.

Hess designed and built them through the summer as part of his eagle scout project.

During an interview with Hess at the park, he was approached and thanked several times for his work.

“I can’t tell you what a difference this has made. Now there’s something for the dogs to do when they come here,” one community member said.

And the equipment is definitely put to good use. Throughout the course of an hour during the interview, no less than seven dogs used the equipment to jump, climb and weave.

“Almost everything is built to American Kennel Club standards,” Hess said.

At times, this made the process easier because there were set guidelines for how to construct the equipment.

However, other parts of the project weren’t as easily drawn out.

Fundraising was a bit difficult at first. Hess went around to several businesses in the area asking for donations. The only business that donated was Friends Lumber.

“So my mom (Sunny-Lee) had the idea to run a yard sale to raise the funds,” Hess said.

Through the sale and through Friend’s Lumber’s donation, Hess was able to raise the $750 needed for the project.

“I actually had to use trigonometry skills from school, which was interesting,” Hess said of the design and planning process.

As he had little constructing experience, Hess said that his father, Robert, was his right-hand man on the project.

“Boy Scouts is a part of a big family tradition, starting with my grandfather and then was carried on by my father. I was in cub scouts when I was in kindergarten,” Hess said.

It’s this tradition that Hess thanks for his enthusiasm and involvement in the community.

“All of the clubs that I’ve been involved in reflect the values that I’ve taken from Boy Scouts,” Hess said.

He plans to carry those values into law school and eventually to political office.

This year, Hess will be focused on bringing the Senior class together during their last year at Niskayuna.

“I’m trying to lead the class in a more positive direction,” Hess said. In past years, Hess remarked that some of the class fundraisers weren’t as successful as they could have been. This year, he is hoping to change that.

“It’s for the class gift so that we can give back to Niskayuna and for things like Senior gala,” Hess said.

With his senior class office and leadership positions in several other clubs, Hess is will have ample opportunity to try his hand at leading before it comes time for him to have a go at leading the country.

INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER Niskayuna community member and her two dogs put John Hess' Eagle Scout project to good use at the Niskayuna Dog Park. Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.

INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER
Niskayuna community member and her two dogs put John Hess’ Eagle Scout project to good use at the Niskayuna Dog Park. Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.