• Induction Speech for John Henry Jackson

    May 16, 2019 HOF Ceremony, Scott Plaster


    It is my honor to induct our next alumnus into our Hall of Fame, John Henry Jackson in the area of Academics for his contribution to the state championship Twelve team here at Atkins.

    I still remember the first time I met John Henry. I wasn’t a teacher here at Atkins yet, but I was here for a competition. I was walking to the media center right across the hall here, and I saw this young man sitting and reading some Dostoyevski novel or something, and I asked him, “Are you reading that for an assignment, or for pleasure.” He simply said, “I’m reading it because I heard it was interesting.” Later that year, I was hosting a regional Twelve competition at my last school. After assigning each team a table, John Henry came up to me and diplomatically asked if the tables could be rotated out of fairness throughout the rounds, so that each team would have the chance to have a better view of the screen and the questions. I had to tell him no based on the rules, but I was impressed with his articulate argument and his negotiation skills. I knew I was speaking to a future lawyer, diplomat, or politician, and I remember thinking, “Man, I wish I had students like that!”

    Well, as circumstances would have it, the very next year I became a teacher at Atkins, because it was on that same day after that competition that I met our principal, Joe Childers. I began coaching here, and my wish came true to have students like ours here at Atkins. I was able to coach John Henry twice -- as a part of the Quill writing team, and also on my chess team.

    During his days at Atkins, John Henry was the epitome of well-rounded. He not only had an active family life, but was on the track team and just about every academic team you can imagine here at Atkins. He alternated Tuesdays between chess and Academic team so he could work on both, and was also a key member of the Twelve Team, Academic Team, Quiz Bowl, and was also a state champion in TSA, in the Technology Problem Solving Category.

    But despite his busy schedule, his senior year, with a course load full of AP courses, at the top of his class as valedictorian, John Henry gave up Wednesday afternoons to work one-on-one with me as his chess coach in order to get ready for the state tournament. That meant a lot to me then, and it still means a lot to me to see students with this kind of dedication.

    John Henry was a champion here at Atkins, and he still carries that championship spirit with him. It surely took this kind of person to graduate from High Point University with a double major in Political Science and International Relations -- in two and a half years. He’s even already worked on his first Congressional campaign.

    John Henry Jackson is the kind of student and competitor you only get the chance to teach or coach maybe once or twice a decade, if you’re fortunate enough to teach at Atkins, and he surely deserves this honor.

    Please join me in welcoming him into the Atkins Letterman Hall of Fame.


    John Henry

Last Modified on May 27, 2019