BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — It’s hard to imagine an aspiring U.S. Marshal or an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the lead federal agency in the country’s war on drugs, being best known in Pinellas County for stealing.
Julian Jackson, a lifelong resident of St. Petersburg and a graduate of Lakewood High School Class of 2016, received special recognitions during his high school career as an outfielder, leadoff batter and yes, one of the top stolen base leaders on the team.
As a result, he will be attending college at Albany State University, a historical black university in Albany Ga., where he will major in criminal justice.
“I plan to play baseball at the college level and get involved with the different organizations on campus,” said Julian. “When I completed high school, I realized that this is the beginning of my life and I plan to take full advantage of opportunities that I will experience with a goal of becoming a highly successful contributor in my community.”
Julian credits his parents, James and Phyllis Jackson, and older siblings for guiding him while challenging him to become a responsible, productive member of society.
His major challenge while in school was balancing homework with his athletic responsibilities. Baseball occurs during the fall and spring and some weeks have multiple games. He overcame this obstacle by starting his homework prior to either practice or games and used time between them to stay ahead of the workload.
Julian was selected to the Pinellas County All-Star South County Baseball team and was a recipient of the Border Residence scholarship from Albany State University.
So what were Julian’s high school highlights? I bet you can guess they had something to do with baseball.
His first highlight was playing in the state tournament in 2015 and winning against Jesuit High School, which he said, “was one of the best victories I experienced during my baseball career.”
His second most standout moment was this year when his team beat Lemon High School in Englewood in a comeback victory to go back to the regional quarterfinals.
Now the third highlight is what every high schooler dreams of… driving themselves to school every day.
When Julian wasn’t on the baseball diamond, much of his time was spent doing community service with the Pathfinders and the AKA AKademy. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in partnership with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity help youths fulfill many service hours in the community. With Julian’s father being a member of Omega Psi Phi, it was a natural fit for his involvement.
“The Pathfinders taught me to become a mentor to younger black males…it has helped me to understand the importance of talking to younger people,” said Julian. “I try to always be encouraging, aim to be a professional and a positive contributor to this community.”
It’s not hard to imagine Julian on the baseball field staking out opposing pitchers and catchers while looking for an opportunity to steal again and again before a grand audience of witnesses. It’s safe to say that he will slide safely into a career in criminal justice.