• 17-Year-Old Businessman Heads to Duke

     James Arnold of Panther Creek High is headed to Duke on a full scholarship

    STUDENT: James Arnold

    SCHOOL: Panther Creek High

    COLLEGE: Duke University

    June 1, 2018

    James Arnold of Panther Creek High's Class of 2018 wants to stay close to home as he heads off to college so he can continue to manage his landscaping business.

    In eighth grade at Mills Park Middle School, Arnold hit a turning point in his life. He was determined to be more successful in school and began mowing lawns in hopes of making a trip to South America. He didn’t make the trip.

    Instead, he built his own company, College Scholarship Landscaping, a company with more than a dozen full- and part-time employees serving hundreds of homeowners in northwest Wake County. He’s grown the business during his high school years to the point where it will support him as a student at Duke University. 

    A 'Steward' Who Helps Others

    Dr. Camille Hedrick, Panther Creek High principal, praises Arnold’s leadership. He’s volunteered landscaping services to improve school grounds. On weekend workdays at the school, Arnold has led teams of more than 70 students in beautification work at the entrances to the school.

    “James is a steward of our school and helps other students be stewards as well," Dr. Hedrick said.

    “James has helped in a lot of ways. He’s cleared lots of debris,” said Benjamin Olin, Panther Creek High assistant principal. “During winter break he led a team of volunteers that planted new bushes and laid stonework at the school’s bus loop entrance. He cares about our community.” 


    Full Ride to Duke

    Duke University awarded Arnold the Braxton Craven Scholarship, a four-year full tuition scholarship. The scholarship is named for Braxton Craven, the first president of Trinity College, which later became Duke University.

    Heading to Duke, Arnold is thinking about majoring in business, but also is interested in science. He’s earned 18 hours of college credit through AP classes, several in science.

    “He really is one of the best in science, taking the highest level of science courses available here,” said Whitney Masterson, a Panther Creek High science teacher. “He did a great job of taking something that was maybe scratching the surface of a concept and really digging in to make critical connections to real world experience.”