We surpass new boundaries.

Jaab Veskijkul

Jaab Veskijkul {Cross Country Runner and Cook}

Everything is a new exploration for me here. Being from Thailand, I had not fished, hiked or really experienced the outdoors before coming to Blue Ridge. And in the classroom, I took my first Mandarin lesson! I was the only one in the class and my teacher was still hard on me. Ha! She wanted better from me, so she pushed me and challenged me from the first class for the next two years. I learned more material faster and now this year I am in Mandarin 3.

My newest adventure is sushi preparation. I learned the skills from Michael Gerry, a BRS senior last year, and have gotten pretty good at it. I am selling the sushi in the dorms now. I joined the Cooking Club to explore different cuisines now that I have mastered sushi! That's the thing about Blue Ridge – there are no limitations. Everyone encourages each other to succeed and go for it. The first time I went skiing I wasn’t great, but the guys made it fun. Same with cross country. It's a long, demanding commitment, but the sacrifice is natural when everyone else is doing it. The academics are the same way, I can excel because we are all in this together. If I have a weakness, I will get help, and then share my strengths. At home I have two brothers, here I have almost 200.

Jaab's Team

Patrick Curtin

Patrick Curtin

{History Teacher}

Jaab seemed quiet and shy at first, and took a little while to get into the subject matter. He turned down my offer to move to the English Language Learners class on a parallel track. He was adamant that he wanted the challenge, and that he could do it! And did he ever prove himself right. For the rest of the year, I don't think Jaab turned in a single thing that wasn't an A. He has the rare gift of not only being able to push himself, but to influence others to do the same.

Blue Ridge was a new place, in a new country, with a new language and he could have gotten overwhelmed at first. But rather than be fazed by any potential barriers, Jaab embraced our community from the beginning. He has been on the Student Council since his freshman year. He's an all-star here on campus, and brings nothing but joy to those with whom he interacts. 

Jose Espinoza

Jose Espinoza

{Friend and Classmate}

Jaab is always up for anything! I was his Proctor his freshman year and he was my "go to" guy. I could always count on him to help me with the other freshmen on the hall. Nothing gets him down. He's a natural leader since he’s so charismatic that he draws the guys together no matter what their backgrounds. When he first got here I knew he had to work hard to overcome his homesickness but he did this by reaching out to the other new boys to help them feel at home here.

[Jose is attending Guilford College this year.]

Connor Morgan

Connor Morgan

{Friend and Classmate}

Jaab is always up for an adventure and open to learning new things. I don't think anything can get him down. He always looks for the positive in any situation and this makes him a great influence on the rest of us. He's made friends in every grade too. Last year he spent Thanksgiving break with my family and me in West Virginia and he was a huge hit with my grandmother! It was the first time in his life he'd seen snow – he was so excited.

[Connor is now a freshman at Purdue University.]