Growing up in Laurelton, Jarret remembers his hour and a half commute to school every day. "I took a bus, to a train, to another train, to a bus. It was definitely a journey but it was fun because I took it with a lot of other people. It was what I knew. I was used to it so I read a lot. A lot of students came from different places so we would meet up and sit in certain spots on the train and the bus."
After graduating from MLS in '08, Jarret was recruited to wrestle at Penn State, where he started as an Architectural Engineering Major. He later finished his schooling at Hunter College here in New York. "I switched my major to International Relations after a conversation with a mentor. They really opened my eyes up to the world of policy. I became a United Nations Representative and focused on peace and international security and what that looked like... what that conversation was around the world. This is my last year as a Representative. I decided not to be a Representative anymore so that I can focus on more initiatives including student debt and how to help students in that regard."
Jarret is pictured with mentor Graham Spanier, President Emeritus, The Pennsylvania State University
Under the mentorship of Penn State's President, Jarret discovered his life passions. "After attending a number of meetings, the President said that I had to meet Dennis Jett, the Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru. He told me I would never understand the U.S. if I didn't leave it." Since then Jarret has left the U.S. every year. "I always challenged myself to learn what the world is beyond me. This really deepened my passion for international relations."
The first country that spurred this passion for Jarret was Cuba. "I went there for three and a half weeks. This young Cuban said to me 'you're told not to like me or understand me, but I challenge you to get to know me for who I am.' It was something that was really unique. I had a perspective of the people and the culture, but when I got to live there and see it for myself it was really eye-opening. It's something that is hard to put into words. I always make an effort to meet young people in different countries. I always ask them what inspires them. When I am in a position to do something, I will." Jarret's most recent trips include Canada and Mexico, but he is looking to travel to Japan next.
Jarret worked as a United Nations Representative as a volunteer and was the Senior Advisor to the President of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce previously. "I worked at the Institute for International Education. I was also in the Non-Profit sector working at the College and Community Fellowship, an organization that helps formerly incarcerated women get a college education." Currently, Jarret owns his own Consulting Firm where he helps businesses, individuals and organizations streamline their organizational inefficiencies, "I work with organizations that are mission driven, have great people working for them, and who work in a good environment." He started his firm less than a year ago and is really excited and passionate about this work. "I have control of what I want to do and I get to give back in a way that is meaningful to me."
As I walked through the MLS halls and gymnasium with Jarret, he could not stop smiling. "It is definitely remarkable to see how the school continues to grow and develop. Walking through I can imagine myself when I was here. For me to say that was 10 years ago is very tough. To see what has been done and know what will be done is beautiful and it amazes me. I have no words...I'm a proud Alumni."
Jarret in the MLS Gym during his August 2018 visit
Education was always really important to Jarret and his family. "It was a no-brainer to come to a school that had quality education and teachers. MLS is a school that really is setting a standard that if you want your child to succeed and not only learn but also be developed in a way that they need to be... you need to send your child to MLS."
Jarret laughed talking about his first wrestling match. "I was never a wrestler until I came to MLS, so I had to learn all the rules and I hadn't by my first match. I remember yelling for a timeout or a break during a match and Coach Regan said "there's no breaks in wrestling. " Jarret remembers yelling "the guy in the black and white shirt won't let me get water," and laughed thinking about it.
Mr. Johnson was also a very important mentor to Jarret during his time here. "Mr. J was pivotal in really helping me to get to a level like Penn State. He pushed us beyond our limits. He could see our potential beyond what we could see and that is something that was really powerful. That helped me as an athlete and an individual."
Jarret with Mr. Johnson during his August 2018 visit
"The school is intentional with the people who go here... not just from the student perspective so students can interact with peers who challenge them intellectually, but also with the administration and teachers. Having a solid foundation and a great education is something I will always take away. One of my big passions is to give back. When i am in the position to, I want to sponsor a child to go here, as I was sponsored to go here."
Jarret explained that the challenge with our education system is that students are not being prepared to go where they need to go. "We need thinkers...not everyone will be a doctor, a professor or a lawyer...but everyone needs to be a thinker. At a very young age MLS will ready your child to think. This foundation is pivotal for your child's growth for Middle School, High School and beyond. When they graduate, they will come back and say "wow" I want to pay it forward."
We want to thank Jarret for sharing his MLS story and incredibly inspiring work. We are excited to see which country he is off to next.
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