Annapolis Valedictorian Likes To Pursue New Horizons

Pioneer With 4.0 Was One Of Two Male Cheerleaders

June 07, 1991|By Dianne Williams Hayes | Dianne Williams Hayes,Staff writer

Little about 18-year-old Jesko M. Hagee's life has been ordinary -- not the five moves with his military family to Hawaii, California, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Maryland and not his pioneering efforts as one of two male cheerleaders at Annapolis High.

But after only one year at the school, the outgoing student will deliver the valedictory speech.

"It took guts," Jesko said with a smile of his fame as a pioneer."There were always a lot of guys saying they were going to be a cheerleader, but nobody ever does it.

"I thought there would be a lot of negative reactions, but nobody said anything, to my face anyway. I'm not good at flips, so it was mostly tossing girls in the air, lifts and shouting."

Of course, if students don't remember him from that, they may have seen him pounding the ivory keys for the school's chorus during a school assembly.

His talent was discovered while waiting for a guitar class to begin, when he took it upon himself to entertain the class with a complex Chopin piece.

Jesko, who came to Annapolis from a school for military dependents at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he carried a 4.0 grade point average, said he never expected to be named valedictorian.

"One 'B' would have meant that the school would have had four valedictorians," the student said.

Jesko will share the stage tonight with three salutatorians -- Ivy Lynn Bridgett, Melissa Chaump and Katherine Welch -- all of whom finished with 3.97 grade-point averages. They will also deliver speeches tonight tothe 335 graduates at the Capital Center at 7:30 p.m.

Tonight's graduation is also important to school principal Laura

Webb, who is culminating her first year as head of the school.

"It's a small (graduating) class, but a number of them made the honor roll all year,"Webb said. "Jesko maintained a perfect grade-point average all year,taking all advanced-placement courses. That indicates that he is a very together and well-rounded young man."

When Jesko thinks about delivering his speech, he said the words "nervous" and "excited" cometo mind.

Following on the school's theme of "New Horizons," Jesko's

message includes his personal aspirations, goals and adjustments as a transient student, along with words of inspiration.

"Don't cease putting in that little extra effort," he wrote in his speech. "While we were in Annapolis High, everyone has recognized the class of'91 as one of the best classes ever. This was because we put forth the effort to make a difference."

Jesko said he is planning to "party" until he reports to the U.S. Naval Academy this summer.

"I plan to have as much fun as I can, go to Ocean City and do all

those things before plebe summer," he said, "before they take all my hair off."

Those adjustment, however, may not prove too difficult, considering he lives on the Naval Academy base. His father, Col. Michael Hagee, heads the English and History departments there.

But the soon-to-be plebe is quick to point out that it was hard work, not familyconnections, that got him accepted to the academy.

"I have been working to get into the (Naval) Academy as long as I can remember," hesaid. "I am glad that my resume is strong, because I wouldn't want anyone to think that I got in because of my dad. Besides grades, they look for sports and leadership ability. I played soccer here, but headed several groups in North Carolina."

Despite the large Marine Corps flag that flies in front of his home, Jesko said he hasn't quite decided on the Navy or Marines.

"A lot of people complain about what they do for a living, but my dad always seemed to enjoy his job," Jesko said. "I like that."

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