Kids Who Make A Difference: Garrett Jones

Garrett Jones has his priorities in order. Family and school first, then basketball.

“My mom always told me, ‘If you don’t have your academics straight, you won’t go where you want to go,’” he says. And he listened to his mother: He’s headed to University of New Hampshire this fall to major in history and to play basketball.

Garrett just graduated from Evanston Township High School, where he made Dean’s list every quarter. His basketball career has been equally stellar. He played on the varsity team as a freshman, became a starting player sophomore year and set the school’s record for most points scored in one game—51—as a junior.

And though he has lots of fans cheering for him, none are more dedicated than his family. His parents have been to every game he’s played and his four brothers and two sisters—he’s the youngest—come to as many games as possible.

“My family is my biggest influence,” says Garrett. It’s important to him to live up to their expectations, and to be a role model for his five nieces and nephews. “If you have good morals and you’re a great person on and off the court, it will take you a long way.”

And Garrett is one of those great people. He mentors kids at Hoop Avenues Athletics—mostly by playing basketball with them. “I had great older players who helped me,” he says. He thinks of it as a big circle and enjoys getting to know and help younger kids.

His advice for them? “Surround yourself with supportive friends who want to see you succeed.” He also counsels that basketball is a great sport and you can be successful at it, but you need something else to rely on if it doesn’t work out.

Garrett’s plan includes becoming a teacher and possibly a basketball coach when his playing career ends. “Kids always talk about their favorite teachers. I want to be that teacher,” he says. Several teachers at ETHS influenced his decision to focus on history, especially Kamasi Hill, who teaches African-American History, and Makoto Ogura, who teaches American History.

“They make learning interesting with class projects and interacting with students,” Garrett says. “We discuss current events and see how it relates to the past.”

Garrett will make his mark on the court and in the classroom—just as he has as a player and student—someday as a coach and teacher.