Scoop Jackson

Each year the junior AP CA III classes participate in the columnist project. This is a yearlong project, and according to AP CA III teacher, Kathy Duggan; the job of the students is to choose one columnist to analyze and learn from throughout the year. Each month a student will choose a column to annotate and analyze; and then write a paper on the column.
For the past five years, the students have had a guest speaker come talk to them about his own experiences in the writing business, as well as give them the opportunity to ask various questions. ESPN sports columnist Scoop Jacksoncame to talk to the junior AP CA III classes on Friday for the fourth time in five years.According to Jackson, he started coming to BVNW in 2005 when he had two students analyze his writing and write him letters challenging him to come visit. Jackson said he then proceeded to call Duggan, wanting to meet the students. They arranged for him to come and surprised the students the following year, and since then Jackson said he has made it a habit to come visit BVNW.“It’s important for the students to have a direct link to the people they’re studying so they can go beyond the individual and see if it explains what they do more,” Jackson said. “I’ve always been a fan of trying to make that connection with people that take the time to read what I wrote and see if it helps. From the beginning, the two [students] were instrumental in bringing me here.”

Jackson said he covers a wide range of topics in his discussions, claiming to “free-fall”. He is not a big person on talking about himself, Jackson said, but he does not mind answering questions. According to Jackson, he looks at more than what is specific to the moment, but tries to find the life lesson in whatever he writes or talks about.

“I can’t predict what [the students] want to know or what they need to know,” Jackson said. “Even though I tell a lot of stories, I’m not big on saying, ‘Here’s what I do, and here’s what you need to do to succeed’. The students ask me so many questions and I think I fulfill something that may have been necessary when I answer them … This is beautiful to me. To me this is what it’s all about.”

According to Duggan, she is appreciative to Jackson for coming. Duggan said Jackson is always gracious to come and talk to students when he could be doing a variety of other activities.

“He always gives back,” Duggan said. “We’re blessed to have him. He’s really opened the door for us to start this Master Writer’s Series. We’re having more speakers come in October, April and sometime during the third quarter. It’s indicative and fun. Not only to get out of class but to hear these kind of stories.”

Duggan said Jackson is not only good with answering questions, but finds a way to connect with everyone. According to Duggan, BVNW has a predominantly white ethnicity, and she thinks having Jackson come and speak gives some students a chance to see someone like them who is successful and giving back.

“It’s not the only person he appeals to,” Duggan said. “But I think sometimes we take for granted that everybody feels a part. I don’t know that everybody always does. I think the fact he allows a diversity in our program is important and a big deal for some students.”

According to Jackson, he has always considered Kansas City a second home because of the ability to visit old friends as well as the overall friendliness of the community.

“Seeing the kids is important but seeing Kathy [Duggan] and Claire [Regan] and the staff (is my favorite part),” Jackson said. “This is really just a great school and just feeling like I’ve contributed to a great program and concentrating on the craft of writing is great. I’ve always loved it and I love the fact they always just treat me so nice here… I’ll be back, trust me. As long as they want me back, I’ll be back.”