I will soar

a documentary about atlantic high school’s football program

(on and off the field)

“I WILL SOAR” is a true story of one city, one community high school and one coach who brought them all together and produced a winning football season with record numbers of first-generation students attending university.

Coach TJ Jackson, raised in Delray Beach, Florida, was a highly sought-after recruit and earned a football scholarship and business degree from Virginia Tech. Coach TJ had a brief stint with the NFL and returned home to take over Atlantic Community High School’s fledgling football program at the Title One school (where 80 percent of the students live at or below the poverty level).

Coach TJ applied a simple methodology in building his football program: To keep a spot on the championship-caliber team, players had to perform in the classroom. “If you love the game, you have to study.” For students dealing with homelessness, hunger and violent crime in their neighborhoods, Coach TJ, together with Atlantic’s Principal, Tara Dellegrotti-Ocampo, provided an opportunity to not only improve their student’s lives, but the lives of future generations.

Atlantic Community High School’s football team is seeded number one in Palm Beach County. The Eagles won the Class 7A Gold Bracket championship in the tri-county playoffs and are tops among graduation and matriculation rates for high school football programs on a national level.

Jane Swanko, an author, producer and motivational speaker was invited to talk to the team in the Summer of 2017. She volunteers and works with the graduating seniors on etiquette as well as transitioning them to college. Swanko teamed with award-winning cinematographer, John Sturdy and filmed the documentary in true cinéma verité, allowing those involved with the program to tell the story of the team’s success both on and off field.

An emotional roller coaster of many feel-good moments, the documentary explores Coach TJ’s success in providing guidance for the many players who live fatherless, delivering the nurturing and strength they need to graduate and be successful in life.