The latest in an interview series with Ferndale School District Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn features Ferndale High School grad Jake Locker.
LQ: Jake, I like to sit down with our graduates to talk about how Ferndale prepared them for their future. You are someone who went on to accomplish many things on and off the field. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk with you about your experience in Ferndale and beyond.
JL: I was born and raised here in Ferndale. My family is here. Ferndale is what I knew from the time I can remember. My experience can be summed up by the word “community.” I have always felt a real sense of community here from the time I was young. There are not a whole lot of times that you go somewhere in Ferndale and don’t run into someone that you know and who you like seeing and catching up with.
LQ: I think this must be a family trait. Your parents are leaders in the Be the One mentoring program. They are really amazing people.
JL: I have amazing parents!
LQ: We know that you excelled in football; was this always your passion? Tell me a little about other activities you were involved in while a student in Ferndale.
JL: From the time I was young, sports were what I loved doing. I played basketball, baseball, and football since I can remember. My free time was spent asking my dad to play catch and shoot hoops. For me, it was awesome because I was given a lot of opportunities to compete at high levels here in Ferndale.
LQ: You attended the University of Washington after graduating from Ferndale High School. Tell me a little about that decision.
JL: Honestly, I chose the UW because it was the closest to Ferndale, the closest to home. I could give you a lot of other great reasons: the school is great, the coach was great, and the campus is beautiful. I can tell you though, if the school had been in California, I wouldn’t have gone.
LQ: You are a big part of your community, Jake. I know that is something that is important to you. What would you tell young people about giving back?
JL: I would tell them that it doesn’t have to be noticed to be important. So often we aim to give back because we are hoping to help someone else, but we end up being the beneficiaries of those opportunities. When we give back to our community, we are giving to something that we truly feel will last beyond us. We are all searching for real meaning and a purpose in our life. When we give back and serve our community – we find that. Service is much more than one person and one person’s agenda.
LQ: What is your favorite memory of your time in school in Ferndale?
JL: I have a lot of great memories but two stand out for me. At Ferndale High School we had assemblies and during the spring we always had one that included games and activities – I remember tug-a-war. It was such a fun thing and brought us all together.
My other favorite memory was when we returned to Ferndale after the 2005 state championship football game. We came into town on Main Street and the bus literally couldn’t move down the street – so many people had come out to greet us and welcome us home. It was one of the greatest pictures of why this place is so special. We actually got off the bus and spent about 30 minutes in the street on Main Street celebrating with our community.
LQ: Let’s transition and talk a little about current Ferndale students. What advice would you give to students who are coming up through Ferndale Schools?
JL: I am always careful with advice, but if I were to talk to current students I would tell them not to miss this. Not to miss this time. You may never have the experience again when you are surrounded by so many supporters and people who are rooting for you.
My other advice is do not be afraid to be different. Stand on the truth that you know is true. Be willing to be someone who is not always popular, but lay your head down at night knowing you made decisions that were right.
LQ: Are there classes or opportunities that exist at Ferndale Schools that you wish you would have taken part in as a student?
JL: Yes. I always tell myself now that I have my own family, my own home, and my own vehicles that I wish I would have spent more time in Career and Technical Education (CTE). I wish I would have taken the small engines classes and the metal shop classes. I would use the skills from those classes now. Those are classes I overlooked in high school and I wish I wouldn’t have.
LQ: Thank you so much, Jake! I appreciate your time talking to me today and for all the ways that you contribute to making Ferndale a better place.