An accomplished past leads Valedictorian Donovan Jasper ’21 towards the future

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Kyle Barr '12

Donovan Jasper ’21 gives his Valedictorian Speech during Jesuit’s graduation at Allworth Financial Stadium on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Given to a senior in recognition of his outstanding achievements during his high school years, the Valedictorian award is among the most prestigious awards that are handed out at graduation each year. For the Class of 2021 at Jesuit High School Sacramento, Donovan Jasper ’21 took home the award.

While many associate being Valedictorian with having the highest grade point average, Donovan’s impact on Jesuit went far beyond his excellence in the classroom. 

“I was involved in Business Investments freshman year,” Donovan said. “I’ve been a member of [the California Scholarship Federation] and the [National Honor Society] since sophomore year. I’ve been a member of Mathletes competition team for four years, acting as co-president this year. I’ve been a member of the Software Development and Cybersecurity clubs since my freshman year and co-president/president of both clubs for the past two years. I’ve been a member of the R-4808N cyber team for four years as well. I have been a member of the varsity swim team since freshman year. I’m on the Senior Retreat team. I have been a member of the Chamber Choir since my freshman year and am president and student conductor this year.”

Math teacher and moderator of Jesuit’s Cybersecurity Team Mr. Justin Tsai has been impressed with Donovan’s dedication to the team’s success.

“Donovan Jasper and his teammate, Ian Menz [’21], have been the main drivers of our Cybersecurity Team’s success for the past few years, making Jesuit High School a top contender in annual California Mayor’s Cyber Cup and California Cyber Innovation Challenge competitions,” Mr. Tsai said. 

Donovan has also dedicated his time and efforts to help younger kids learn about cybersecurity, as he and his teammates created their own non-profit organization to do so.

“At the start of the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, Donovan and his cybersecurity teammates, collaborating with Saint Francis High School students, created the outreach program called Echelon Catapult to inspire middle school students with several STEM workshops,” Mr. Tsai said.

Friend and Cybersecurity teammate Connor Vallero ’21 appreciates Donovan’s leadership and tenacity.

“Donovan is very headstrong and a natural leader,” Connor said. “He is not afraid to take risks. Donovan views situations from many different perspectives to find the optimal solution.”

Mr. Tsai has also been impressed with Donovan’s brilliance in the classroom and his commitment to helping others share in his successes.

“Since his freshman year in my Algebra Two Honors class, I have always been impressed with his constant pursuit of excellence and his humbleness and willingness to share,” Mr. Tsai said. “Again and again he answers the call to lead and to bring people together.”

When it was announced that Donovan had been named the Valedictorian of the Class of 2021, he took that as a moment to reflect on his time at Jesuit and he felt proud of his fellow brothers for what his class has achieved as a whole. 

“I was honored and pleased [when I found out],” Donovan said. “Honestly our class is so gifted that I think there were a lot of good fits for the title. I’m proud that I was chosen, but in the end I’m happier about everything our class has accomplished these past four years.”

Next fall, Donovan will be attending Stanford University. Although he’s not fully decided on his major, he is still very excited about what his time at Stanford will hold for him.

“Stanford has been my goal for quite a long time because it is excellent and close [to home], but not too close,” Donovan said. “Since I’m not entirely sure of my major, it is good to know that such a broad array of majors are so beautifully supported. The opportunities actually boggle the mind, or at least they boggle mine.”

Donovan’s aspirations for the future are inspired by what he’s learned from others at Jesuit High School.

“My goal is to grow as a man for others from within a loving, mutually supportive family,” Donovan said. “My experience with Mr. Tsai and Echelon Catapult causes me to be thinking just now in terms of starting a company that would take on a societal need that hasn’t been adequately addressed. I seek a meaningful career.”

Regardless of what Donovan pursues in the future, it is certain that he will continue to impress and make a positive impact on others with his excellence, humbleness, and integrity as he has done during his four years at Jesuit.