Student Spotlight: How One High Schooler is Redefining “Student Athlete”
If you asked Jax A. what his current life goal is, he’d say, “Earn my second degree black belt in karate.” If you asked him what his future life goal is, he’d say something quite different – “Make it to the Olympics for snowboarding.”
At only fourteen years old, it may seem like Jax is dreaming big. But with six snowboarding competition wins, two appearances at United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association nationals, and a first degree black belt in karate already on his resume, his goals don’t seem so lofty.
“I compete in several [snowboarding] disciplines. Some are racing the clock turning through gates. I also race head to head in snowboard cross, where you have to fight each other through turns and straightaways to cross the finish line first,” says Jax. “I also compete in rail jam and slopestyle where I have to hit jumps, metal rails, [and] boxes to show off my tricks and style for the judges to score.”
Hitting the slopes for the first time at only five years old, Jax wasn’t always the prolific snowboarder that he is now. After many years of practice, he’s now able to train at a higher caliber, riding 60 days out of the year at Palisades, Mammoth Mountain or Sierra at Tahoe and training indoors on trampolines or roller boards during the summer months.
“I had to start at the bottom of the [snowboarding] teams and work my way up,” explains Jax. “I would ride every weekend, spring break and even train with my coach into the summer break.”
The flexibility of Visions’ Independent Study Academy is what lends Jax the time to train, travel and everything in between. Using planners to stay organized, he’s able to schedule his school work around his training days, something Jax says helps keep him on track.
“I like the ability to have flexible training schedules,” says Jax. “I have had a lot more time to focus on snowboarding, fitness, training and my grades.”
From the Mountains to the Mat
In addition to snowboarding, Jax has been doing karate with Kovar’s Martial Arts & Fitness since he was in kindergarten. As one of our Enrichment Vendors, Kovar’s provides extracurricular activities and hands-on learning opportunities for students like Jax. A current first degree black belt, Jax is using his Enrichment Vendor funds to continue to train with Kovar’s and pursue his passion for martial arts.
“I wanted to learn how to fight and defend myself,” Jax shares. “My goal is to earn my second degree black belt. I also am working towards a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.”
With three more years of high school to go, Jax has remained steady on his course to graduating, hoping to one day start his own snowboarding company and eventually qualify for the Olympics. His teacher, Jessica Wall, who Jax exclaims is the “best teacher ever,” commends Jax’s commitment to his education alongside his big dreams.
“Jax completes his work consistently and communicates well,” Jessica shares. “He is an all-around phenomenal student.”
At Visions, Jax truly is redefining what it means to be a student athlete. A strong academic and athletic competitor, he has been given the opportunity to receive a rigorous education, explore and refine his passions, and pursue his wildest dreams.
“Jaime Anderson from our resort and South Lake [Tahoe] Olympian went to Visions and it worked for her, so I know it can work for me too!”
Want to keep up with Jax? Follow him on Instagram!
Check out some of Jax’s sponsors!