Humans of Harker: Distinctive individuality

Jack Connors (12) stays true to his values


Esha Gohil

“The east coast was very different from here. I kind of just [had to] adapt. I’m proud that I didn't succumb to the normality here and just stay[ed] true to who I am. I think I'm individual in a few ways, and I think if I had lost that when I came here, I would have just blended in,” Jack Connors (12) said.

Standing by the couches in Shah Hall, Jack Connors (12), clad in light blue jeans and a white hoodie, prepares to catch a football from his friend on the other side of the hallway. As the ball flies towards him, he jumps up to catch it, hand stretched high above his head. Landing back on the ground, a hearty laugh escapes his lips. 

Jack cherishes the time he gets to spend with his friends and attributes it all to the decision he made years ago. He vividly recalls choosing to go to Harker for high school and the big impact it has made on his life.

“At Harker, the value of education and pursuing what you really like to do is something that’s expressed greater than at [other schools] … I already knew that decision was going to be made, but when I made it, things just really took off for me,” said Jack. 

Friends in the community made for an easier transition to the new school, which was an experience similar to the one he had when he moved to the Bay Area from New Jersey. The first of these friends was Giovanni “Gio” Rofa (12), who met Jack in seventh grade when they played against each other on their middle school basketball teams. 

“We’ve always had this great sense of humor together. We always crack jokes. He’s always a great person to be around. [When] I got to know him, beginning of freshman year, we connected and just became great friends,” said Gio. 

Another friend who eased Jack’s transition to Harker was Vance Vu (12). He met Jack freshman year after they were introduced by their brothers. 

“I first met Jack, seventh grade, through our brothers. His brother and my brother were best friends their freshman year. When I first met him, he was really quiet, but then once we got close, he really opened up,” Vance said. 

Jack prides himself greatly on maintaining his personality and uniqueness even after his big move. Even after peer and societal pressure from friends to fit the norm of this new area, he remained himself, refusing to be someone he wasn’t just to fit in. 

“The east coast was very different from here. I kind of just [had to] adapt,” he said. “I’m proud that I didn’t succumb to the normality here and just stay[ed] true to who I am. I think I’m individual in a few ways, and I think if I had lost that when I came here, I would have just blended in.”

With this value of distinction comes Jack’s desire to be the kind of person people can go to with their problems and provide a listening ear. This side of him is something most people who aren’t close to him are unaware of. 

“I think a lot of people, especially at Harker, see me as an intimidating guy, kind of overbearing in a sense. But in reality, I’m much more timid than I let on. I feel like I get a different rep sometimes by people I don’t really know,” Jack said.

Gio recognizes this quality in Jack, explaining how his reputation as a big, intimidating person is completely different from the real him. As a close friend who knows him personally, Gio sees parts of him that others don’t. 

“He’s a lot nicer than he seems. I feel like a lot of people feel like he’s this big, tall, scary guy, but he’s much more than that. He’s also a great person. He has a great personality,” Gio said. 

Vance expressed a similar sentiment to Gio, believing that others who may not know Jack as well create a reputation for him that does not agree with his true personality. 

“A lot of people make assumptions; not many people really know the truth,” said Vance. 

Being an approachable person also contributes to his effortless ability to be a leader. As a captain of the varsity basketball team this year, Jack has grown as both a player and person. His growth over the season has been visible to both his friends and his teammates. 

“I think Jack’s really stepped up as a leader on our basketball team. He shows it on and off the court. He puts in the most time, the most work. It shows on the court. He also is just a great vocal leader,” said Gio. 

As a senior, Jack wants to work on fine-tuning his reputation and ensuring that it represents his true qualities. He hopes that he is remembered on this campus as someone who would always provide a listening ear and help others whenever they needed it. 

“I think those who have really taken the time to get to know me feel like they can always come talk to me whenever something’s going on, so I hope I can maintain that and get more people to be able to do that with me,” Jack said. “I really like to empathize with other people, so being able to share, if someone’s telling me something that happened to them, being able to try and understand what they’re going through is something I’ve always tried to do, in daily life, in all my conversations.”