Jaxson Guenther, an eighth-grader at Saint Joseph School, was awarded the Aquinas Medal for the 2023-24 school year. 

Named for Saint Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of scholars who imparted knowledge infused with an awareness of God, the honor is the most prestigious a student can receive from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. One student at the highest academic grade level at each Catholic school in the diocese is recognized for embodying excellence in learning, faithful discipleship, leadership, and service to school, parish and community. 

Guenther, 14, is the son of Melissa and Erik Guenther. He was born in Atlanta and moved to Shepherdstown, W.Va., five years ago. He has attended Saint Joseph School since fourth grade and has been on the honors list every year. He participated in school and Berkeley County social studies and science fairs. Guenther qualified twice for the Eastern Panhandle Science and Engineering Fair, placing second this year in the medical sciences category. 

Guenther has been on the school basketball team all three years of middle school and is the starting center this year. He also played on the tennis team.

He has been a percussionist in band since fourth grade and was chosen this year for the Region IX Honor Band. He is also participating in the spring middle school musical showcase. 

His favorite subjects at the only Catholic school in the Eastern Panhandle are science, social studies and band, and he loves being creative in STEM.

Guenther spent part of his 14th birthday in November serving as an honorary Berkeley County commissioner.

Outside of school, Guenther enjoys playing football, basketball and video games. He also loves to travel and spend time at beaches and lakes. 

He is looking forward to attending Jefferson High School, where he hopes to play football and be a member of the marching band.

Guenther dreams of playing in the NFL, but is also interested in veterinary science.  

He is a faithful person and puts others before himself. When he was younger, people always said he was going to be president one day because of his friendly and well-mannered demeanor. 

“I have enjoyed the challenging academics and being able to share my faith with my peers and teachers at Saint Joseph School,” Guenther said. “My favorite thing about going to SJS is all the friends I have made with similar morals and values as myself.”