Graduation is done for this Panther, but the ride has just begun.
Jack Eyers says he won't miss homework but he's looking forward to his new school, Reed College in Oregon.
The Prospect High School senior graduated as part of the class of 2012 on June 7 with several accomplishments under his belt.
He won excellent defense lawyer from the state level Mock Trial competition in March, he was involved in the drama department on campus and is looking forward to his new classes at Reed.
Jack chatted with Campbell Patch about the things he will miss about high school, the people that made an impact on his life and the future ahead.
Campbell Patch: How long have you gone to school at Prospect?
Jack Eyres: I have gone to Prospect for four years, my entire high school career, and I have never once doubted that it was the best choice for me. And though Prospect has been great for me in more ways than one, the part of it that has had the greatest impact on me has been mock trial.
Patch: How and why did you get involved in mock trial?
Jack: I've always been a competitive person, and mock trial certainly appealed to that side of me, but I haven't been a great athlete since about fifth grade. Mock trial gave me the opportunity to compete at what I was best at: thinking on my feet, arguing and generally using my intelligence to attempt to beat people.
After competing in mock trial for four years, this year was the year that I absolutely had the most fun. Because we had gone to state as a team last year, I didn't think we would make it again this year, so I had more fun with my questions and my closing argument, allowing me to really be the attorney I wanted to be.
In the end that helped me, as I was comfortable enough in the court room and with my questions to end up winning the award for the best prosecution attorney in the state of California: my proudest moment (and also my high school high point).
Patch: What other classes did you enjoy while in high school?
Jack: Apart from mock trial, I have also been incredibly involved within the drama department for the past two years. Though I was not in any plays before my Junior year, since I started in Drama II (admittedly by lying to my drama teacher and telling him I had more drama experience than I did, thus skipping the intro drama class) I have been in seven productions and memorized thousands of lines. Drama for me has always been my fun extracurricular.
While I enjoy mock trial immensely, it is certainly more work heavy than drama. Drama allows me to explore and to use a different side of my brain. Instead of simply writing and trying to catch people out, drama allows me to try to represent and portray a character or an emotion as accurately (or as campy) as I can. I find challenges like that enjoyable.
Patch: What did you learn about yourself in the last four years?
Jack: In the last four years I’ve learned a lot about myself. Who I am, and what I what I want to do when I grow up. But only on a very broad level. I love law, and that's something I'm interested in pursuing further, but it isn't clear for me.
The one thing I know is that I want to talk to people. That's what I'm good at. It's what I love. I'm interested in people: who they are, what they do, why they do it. And when I listen to some of my friends talk about their possible careers in astrophysics and chemical engineering I can't help but groan with boredom because to me a job that doesn’t revolve around the human being sounds so incredibly boring. And I know that I don't enjoy writing enough to turn that into a profession for myself in any way. So I'm left with talking. Arguing.
Trying to figure out what makes people tick. I like puzzles, and I think that's why I'm so drawn to Psychology and Philosophy. Because Psych, when it comes down to it, is just the study of why people do what they do. And Philosophy, when similarly boiled down, is the study of how they justify it to themselves and others. I'd love to study both really. I think that it would be really interesting to see both perspectives: inside and out. Psych is the inside: it's why. Philosophy is the outside: it's what people say when they're explaining why.
Patch: Who inspires you and why?
Jack: I don't think that there is a thing or a person or a memory that inspires me per se. I've never been one to look at others and say "I want to look or be or act just like them."
I really, really dislike the conformist culture tat I feel permeates society, and particularly that in high school. I've always been driven by my own desire to learn and grow and succeed at what I truly love.
I don't want to say that I inspire myself, because that is perhaps the most haughty and supercilious thing that anyone could ever say, but I do think that I have found inspiration within my own desires and my own goals, not those of anybody else.
Patch: What teacher made an impact on you?
Jack: In terms of my life actually at school, the teacher who has had the most impact on me by far is Ms. Rader.
Since I took AP Biology with her last year, I have counted her not just among my favorite teachers but my greatest friends. She was the first teacher who really allowed me to be independent. Her class was not about completing all of the boring homework or filling in worksheets. It was about knowledge and learning and really being in charge of your own education. And that's something that I hope to find when I'm at college.
I've never been a huge fan of homework. Perhaps it's my mother's fault. She herself thinks that it's a stupid and useless practice in many respects.
Patch: What will you miss least?
Jack: When I'm at college I really look forward to taking more classes like Ms. Rader's. One's without homework for the sake of homework. Ones where the true goal is to further my education and my knowledge. Because I really don't like busy work. That's the number one thing that I shan't miss.
Patch: What will you miss most?
Jack: What I will miss is teachers like Ms. Rader, and like my mock trial coach and APUSH teacher Mr. Smith who really pressured me not so much to write on every dotted line and take extensive notes on everything they say, but to do what I need to do to get the most out of my education and to really further my learning. And of course I'll miss my friends. I'll miss being able to spend lunch with them and act with them and compete with them.
Patch: What college are you going to and is it your first choice?
Jack: As to where I'm going and what I'm doing there, only one of those is really set in stone. I'm going to Reed College in Portland Oregon.
When I applied to schools, Reed was my third choice behind Tufts (first) and Columbia (second). I was waitlisted at Tufts and rejected from Columbia. Of the schools I did get into, I knew Reed was, at least on paper, where I wanted to go. So I went and toured it and I fell in love with the small classes, the gorgeous campus and the entire atmosphere of quirky but bright students and even quirkier brighter professors. I submitted my enrollment papers two days later. Three days after that I received a call from Tufts saying that they wanted to offer me a place. On paper, Tufts was more prestigious, had more majors, had more classes, had better mock trial, had better theatre, had more opportunity for me to do extra curriculars and was an easier and less time-consuming school. But I had fallen in love with Reed, and I chose to go there. I don't regret it at all.
As to what I want to do when I'm there? I'm undecided.