Jackson Destine: Wendy’s Heisman Scholarship National Winner
Sports and Music Are His Conduits for Positive Change
The night his uncle became a victim in a drive-by shooting was a somber wake up call for 12-year old Jackson Destine. At that point, he’d already been kicked out of school once and he had been involved in gang-related activity since the second grade. But in that tragic moment, Jackson committed to heeding his grandmother’s advice: “The only path to success is education,” she told him. And he determined to apply himself full force.
In 7th grade, Jackson began focusing on his grades and started playing sports, and his natural abilities surfaced right away. By the time he entered high school, he was enrolling in honors classes and competing in wresting, football, and track & field. Unfortunately, there was no discretionary income to pay his athletic fees. With the administrator’s approval and unwilling to give up on his outlet, Jackson started his own candy business selling sweets to kids at school to cover his athletic costs. Jackson quickly became a leader on every team he competes with and has set 15 school records. All while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and working another 20-hour/week job with the sole purpose to help his grandmother make ends meet.
Somehow, Jackson also finds time to write, record, and compose music. To him, it’s solace. To his school and community, it’s sheer inspiration. His original raps tell of his past experiences and send a message that young people have choices, even if they are growing up surrounded by crime, violence, and drugs. Jackson wrote and recorded his school’s official song as well as a song for Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Math Nation program. He performed both songs in front of the school board and local media, and was featured in The Palm Beach Post. Learning the impact his music has had on others led Jackson to volunteer with several community programs focused on youth and serve as senior class president. In everything he does, he proves that life’s circumstances do not define a person; grit, perseverance, and determination do.