Out of the many seniors applying to colleges this season, Jake Parker (12) might be one of the least stressed. With a love for running and participation in West’s cross country and track teams, Parker earned a spot at UCLA, one of the most competitive universities in the nation.
“When they told me the spot was mine I was super excited,” Parker said. “It felt like all the work I have put in for the past four years finally paid off.”
This is Parker’s third year in cross country and track, having joined in sophomore year. Not only has he been an invaluable addition to West as a runner, but both teams have had a profound effect on his own life. Parker reflected on the impact of running as more than a sport but as an avenue that led to meeting other remarkable people.
“It really did change my life,” Parker added, “because it opened doors and opportunities for me that I would never [have] had access to without running.”
At UCLA, Parker will be majoring in Business Economics. He has an optimistic outlook for his future, hoping for both fun and success in his studies (and “probably a lot of homework,” according to Parker). But looking even further, beyond college graduation, Parker expressed his hopes in finding “something that I enjoy doing everyday after I graduate.”
Yet even with a bright future and high hopes, graduation remains bittersweet. “The harder years of high school are behind me and I am about to open a new chapter of my life,” Parker said, “but it sucks to think that in a few months I won’t be able to just drive over to a friend’s house in 5 minutes to hang out.”
Parker has put forward a lot for cross country and track; West will miss him as he moves on to new heights at UCLA. He’s left his mark on West, but the school has also changed him.
But as Parker reflected on his admission to UCLA and his love for running, he said it best: “The fact that I’m going to my dream school for my favorite thing is pretty sweet.”