ESS Region 9: Jesse Franco

July 27, 2020
Editor’s note: ACSA’s video series profiling the winners of the Every Student Succeeding awards program was impacted by COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions. Each week, EdCal will feature Q&A interviews with all 19 winners from each ACSA region. In addition, there will be video stories of the students whose footage was completed before the pandemic. Watch for these videos to premiere on ACSA’s YouTube channel and ACSA’s Facebook page this fall.  Grade: 12th School: Kerman High School District:  Kerman USD ACSA region: 9 When he started 9th grade, Jesse Franco could be seen around Kerman High School with a smile on his face, playing football and being friendly to everyone he came into contact with. But after a few months, Jesse started struggling with schoolwork and was placed in home-hospital for several months. When he returned sophomore year, he was still not the kind, carefree person people knew.

With the help of his school counselors, site and district administrators, and outside therapy, Jesse got the help he needed for his mental health issues. By junior year, he started competing in track and field, which led to the district sending him to a prestigious track and field camp at Stanford. Jesse was noticed by several college coaches and decided to sign with Fresno Pacific University. Jesse could have easily given up or “fallen through the cracks” were if not for the team of people supporting him.  What are your hobbies and interests?  During my junior year, I really took an interest in athletic training and chess. The athletic training class gave me the opportunity to find my passion. Joining the chess club made me happy because I met new people that I now consider friends. Track and field is a sport that I never expected to fall in love with and have a passion for. I found shot put and discus really interesting; the reason being, chess and throwing have similarities between one another. There’s a foundation that you have to learn in order to excel with both. Both chess and track require you to be very technical and that’s the reason I enjoy them so much.   What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are today?  One of the biggest challenges that I had to face was the fear of being myself. During my freshman year, I didn’t know how to be myself, and so I surrounded myself with people that made me feel like I was different and special in some kind of way. I did many things that hurt my health and that I wouldn’t have done if I would just accept myself for who I am. One thing that totally gave me another perspective on life was when I tried to end it all. I thank God for putting that person there that saved me. I feel like this is my second chance and now I have to prove myself and do so while finding happiness.   What educator helped you along the way and how did they help you?  I can’t say one educator helped me go through everything and discredit every little bit of advice from a coach or teacher or my friends and family. I can do my best to describe the ways they helped me to get through things. Many people would give me advice that opened little opportunities in my head. Special people to me knew who I was and how I was, and they wouldn’t think of me any differently. People would talk to me like the person that I wanted to become, and that really motivated me.  What advice would you have for students facing similar situations?  Some real advice that would actually help in my opinion is telling them you have to be strong and even though it seems really hard right now, you have to picture yourself without any problems and make a path. It’s hard to understand but you have to understand that all that pain is temporary, and you have the power to eliminate what you’re feeling.  What does it mean to win this award?  I am personally so grateful for this award because it is something that will remind me of what I’ve gone through to make it where I am now. But I can never stop trying and never be satisfied. I’ve set rules that come with this award, so I’ll never forget about my hardships and never allow obstacles to stand in my way of greatness.  
Region 9 2020 Every Student Succeeding winner Jesse Franco

Every Student Succeeding winners overcome the odds

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