May 22, 2014 in Washington Voices

WAAT graduate Joshua Jacholkowski plays to win

By The Spokesman-Review

Joshua Jacholkowski, 20, received his diploma in January from WAAT and will walk with East Valley High School graduates on June 9.
(Full-size photo)

Joshua Jacholkowski is not your typical senior – he’s 20 years old.

High school wasn’t always a priority for Jacholkowski, and the road to graduation has been a long and challenging one.

But “I never gave up,” he said.

The East Valley Washington Academy of Arts and Technology student persevered and received his diploma in January and will walk with East Valley High School graduates on June 9.

As a freshman at East Valley High School, Jacholkowski wasn’t focused on his classes, but loved playing on the school’s football and basketball teams. Between his freshman and sophomore years, he lost his drive and felt like he wanted to rebel and skipped school. As his truancies added up, the privilege to play sports was taken from him.

“After I couldn’t play, I didn’t have enough push to keep me going. There wasn’t anything to get excited about,” he said. With no motivation, Jacholkowski dropped out of EVHS his junior year.

Jacholkowski tried to get a job, but found that it was difficult to get a well-paying one without his diploma. He went back to school and enrolled at WAAT and pushed through; he was determined to graduate. Jacholkowski found his drive and gained confidence.

“I know now I can get done what needs to be done to be successful,” he said. “I feel like I opened a door. I can let others know they can do it,” he said.

Paula Cavaness, his adviser, knows Jacholkowski is going to be successful. “He’s grown from his responsibilities and he’s thinking about his future. We’re proud of him,” she said.

Beyond graduation, Jacholkowski’s plans include finding a job and his own place. But he’s not stopping there; his sights are set further. “I’d maybe like to go to college. I’d like to go to WSU, maybe walk-on and play football,” he said.

His mother, Sandy, said she is proud and excited for him. “He’s going to go on; he’s going to be awesome. And, I’ll support him in whatever he’s going to do.”

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