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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Oaks Classical Christian Academy grad Ganji has gift for storytelling

Jonathan Ganji, a 2020 graduate of The Oaks Classical Christian Academy, has been part of the school community since kindergarten. (Courtesy)

The Oaks Classical Christian Academy headmaster Charlie Dowers said senior Jonathon Ganji is “just a joy to have around the school.”

Ganji is one of 25 seniors who will be graduating from The Oaks, in Spokane Valley, this spring.

“He is the anchor for the senior class,” said Lynn Gibson, director of College and Career Counseling. “Jonathon is always so encouraging around the students.”

Ganji has been a part of The Oaks community since his first day of school as a kindergartener.

“Jonathon is a comedian, actor and storyteller,” Gibson said. “He is compassionate and seeks out the edges of the community and new people.”

As noted by Gibson, Ganji has a gift for the art of storytelling. He is interested in cinematography and screenwriting.

Accordingly, he plans to attend Biola University’s School of Cinema and Media Arts in Los Angeles this fall, majoring in cinematic arts and minoring in business and marketing. He is drawn to the visual arts because of the way they can communicate beyond the spoken or written word.

“I am drawn to it because of how they can add mood to words and change the meaning of a story,” said Ganji.

He started making three-minute videos with quirky plots when he was in sixth or seventh grade. But it got him started. Last summer he attended the Film Production Camp at Loyola Marymount University, sharpening his talent.

Throughout middle and high school he was active in school plays, providing the spark for the cast that drew the best out of all their roles. Jonathon enjoys bouncing plot ideas and scripts off his friend Isaac Brown, who is also interested in writing and film. They would often start with a nugget of a storyline, then play it out over time. His favorite films are the quirky ones from the 1970s and ’80s.

Ganji has loved his time at The Oaks.

“I appreciate how kind the staff and teachers are,” Ganji said. “They encourage you and have built a strong community for us.”

He loves the small class sizes where the teachers not only teach a subject, but also teach the students how to be critical, independent thinkers.

Like other schools across the region, the closing of school because of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the last part of Ganji’s senior year upside down. He finds the online classes are all right, but annoying. But he went on to say he does appreciate having more time to read and do oddball projects while he is at home.

Outside of school, Ganji enjoys being around his family of storytellers and cooks. His family is originally from the Persian part of the Middle East, a culture that is famous for both its storytelling and food. The family is part of Fery’s Catering, one of Spokane’s best-known catering companies. When he has time, he enjoys cooking traditional Persian dishes that incorporate walnuts, pomegranates and Persian spices that are not always easy to find here. Food also lets him use another of his talents in the visual arts; he serves as the still photographer for many of the photos you can find on the Fery’s Catering website.

Ganji was also introduced to other cultures at an early age. His late grandfather took Jonathon, his sister and parents to France and Italy when he was younger. He hopes to do more traveling after he graduates from college.