Senior Spotlight: Christian Jackson marches to the beat of his own making

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By Emerald Green

Music Man/Playing his cello, senior Christian Jackson practices to improve his musical abilities after school in the orchestra room. He began playing the cello in fifth grade. Photo by Emerald Green 

Those in Mr. Giusto’s AP Gov second period may know him as “Mr. President,” but Christian Jackson is so much more than that. He is as well-rounded as they come; he is studious, talented, and dependable. Jackson is a member of the AP academy (having taken nine AP classes total) and plays multiple instruments.

“Christian Jackson is genuinely kind and accepting of others,” English teacher Ms. Moss, who had Jackson for two years in a row (Pre-AP English and AP English Language), said. “He is humble and caring. He works hard to succeed and is determined to learn from his mistakes. Christian also has great style; he isn’t afraid to be unique.”

Jackson is someone who never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces and is loyal to his friends, saying that he wouldn’t trade his friends for a billion dollars.

“I would describe Christian as a guy that’s always ahead of the curve, whether it be in music, style, or anything else,” senior Haig Keylian, Jackson’s best friend, said. “He’s somebody who can always make you laugh, but you can always be serious with him if you need to.”

He enjoys learning about different cultures. Even though he’s taken Japanese all four years of high school, this AP Japanese student is also a member of Spanish Club because Keylian is the president, and “they make good food.” He is also in Ukulele Club because he would always play with his family when he was younger.

“[Ukulele] brings together so many different people from different walks of life,” Jackson said.

Jackson did JV Quiz in middle school but didn’t continue that journey until he joined Varsity Quiz with Mr. Aberman this year, the team winning second place in the championship games.

“I find it fun, and it made me feel smart,” Jackson said. “Sometimes I felt dumb after, but it’s okay.”

He loves expanding his mind through classic literature and movies. He enjoys movies in every genre but usually prefers movies of the same directors (like Stanley Kubrik, Wong Kar-Wai and Wes Anderson) and cult classics. He reads realistic fiction and books about  certain time periods. The last book he read was H.G. Wells’ 1897 horror science fiction novel “The Invisible Man.”

“Learning is fun because there’s so many interesting things to know in the world,” Jackson said. “There’s so many ideas to ponder and entertain your mind with. I feel like learning is an endless, fun activity that you can do.”

He balances his busy schedule by hanging out with his friends and making music.

“Throughout our friendship, he has shown me so much different music, TV shows and things like that,” Keylian said. “They are all things I end up really liking.”

Music is Jackson’s greatest passion. He plays a total of five instruments: the cello, guitar, piano (a little bit), ukulele and harmonica. He began his musical journey by starting cello lessons at the end of the fifth grade because “people look cool while they’re playing it,” and he liked the sound. He’s taken orchestra since the sixth grade and has been apart of honor and state orchestra all four years of high school.

“Playing music is such a unique experience,” Jackson said. “There’s nothing like playing music with other people. I really like the sense of community it provides and the shared experiences.”

He also began taking piano lessons during freshman year but has since been learning the rest on his own. During his sophomore year, Jackson started strumming the guitar. It transferred really easily because of what he already knew on the cello and ukulele.

“He’s one of the most talented people I know,” senior Yesenia Pelayo said. “Christian just inspires me to do and try so many more things just by being friends with him. Thanks, Christian, for teaching me how to skateboard and encouraging me to try guitar.”

Jackson not only plays music but teaches and writes it. After Tomppabeats’ music inspired him in eighth grade and freshman year, Jackson watched music production software tutorials on Youtube. Then, he started making his own beats freshman year and uploading them on SoundCloud under his alias, alphaphire. His discography consists of 24 published tracks of “chill, down-tempo sample-based hip-hop, lo-fi indie songs.” He doesn’t usually add lyrics to his instrumental beats, so there’s no meaning. You “just take what you take from it.”

“I just kept going,” Jackson said. “Some of my music has been used in lo-fi hip-hop live stream YouTube videos.”

Jackson plans on graduating with an Advanced Honors diploma and going to University of Nevada Reno where he will study cello performance.

“Just do what interests you, and don’t be embarrassed about what you like,” Jackson said. “You’ll never be happy if you appear to like things that you don’t. You’ll find yourself sooner if you embrace your natural interests.”

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Senior and Co-Editor-In-Chief for “The Roar,” Emerald Green is an introspective girl with a sense of humor. Her favorite subject is English because it comes naturally to her and teaches her how to express herself more efficiently when communicating with others, for one of her biggest fears is being misunderstood. She enjoys having insightful conversations with others because she believes that reflecting on other perspectives is one of the best ways she can grow as a person. When she’s not concentrating on school work, she spends her time sketching, reading, and mostly binge-watching, but she has the most fun spending time with her closest friends. Her idols include her parents, Michael Cera, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Evans, Zendaya, and Zoe Saldana; her favorite comedian is John Mulaney. Emerald plans on pursuing stand-up comedy and a career that involves writing in the entertainment industry.