It’s my fortunate opportunity to introduce Dakota Ridge High School senior Jake Iannella. People who know Jake quickly come to appreciate his cheerful disposition, integrity, leadership qualities, and willingness to learn. Jake has been an outstanding student body leader, including key roles in Leadership Council and on the football and track and field teams. When I speak to my children about my hopes and dreams for whom I would like them to become, I easily picture the accomplishments and actions of Jake.
Jake’s interactions with his peers support his positive life philosophy. One needs only to spend a few minutes speaking with Jake to realize his potential as a leader who consistently leaves a positive legacy. He projects exemplary standards of excellence combined with highly efficient leadership skills, gaining the trust of peers and staff as supported by his roles as football team captain for both the junior varsity and varsity teams. As a three-year varsity letter athlete in both football and track and an All-Conference Honorable Mention, Jake understands the sheer determination and desire required to succeed as a player and teammate on the field and in life.
As fierce a competitor as Jake is when he flips the athletic switch as a successful inside linebacker, he showcases a consistent heart of gold off the field. His community outreach illustrates his commitment to supporting others via active engagement in Leadership Council — a hand-selected group of high school leaders representing all school activities who commit themselves to integrity, fellowship, moral-compass principles, and making the world around them a better place. He has the ability to retain humility in all situations and actively seeks out the thoughts and opinions of his peers. Recently, Jake joined some of his peers for an afternoon of volunteer work at Children’s Hospital, facilitating an arts and craft day for young children receiving treatment. It was with genuine empathy and compassion that this rough-and-tumble future college football player knelt down to help a young lady glue the last bits of paper feathers onto her Thanksgiving headdress art project.
Jake is a quick study, grasping new ideas and concepts by challenging himself to succeed in life.
Early in life, Jake discovered a passion for radio broadcast. During his seventh-grade year, he and a friend — under the supervision and sponsorship of his father — started their own sports website. Over the next few years, Jake and his friend traveled across the county attending major athletic events such as the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Pro Bowl, and with each stop they provided website updates, color commentary, statistics, fantasy football advice, and even general impressions from the fan point of view on the atmosphere at the events.
In his sophomore year, Jake developed the Dakota Ridge Sports Network — utilizing his growing supply of media technology to broadcast all the home high school basketball games. In the fall of his senior year, he traveled with the high school football team to play in Florida, where he not only played but also produced a daily blog of activities that was then published in the Columbine Courier. Jake has completed various broadcast experiences, including a highlight week on the campus of the University of Texas working within the broadcast department. He next will be involved in an internship with CoachesAid.com covering local sporting events. He has expanded his media experience as an active on-camera anchor for newscasts broadcast daily in classrooms as part of the high school Ridge Review news team.
Jake hopes to follow his passion post-secondary with a dual major in broadcast journalism and sports science while exploring his football career at the next level. He is seeking a metro market big enough to house multiple college and professional athletic teams so he can broadcast the games. His charismatic charm and instant professionalism and respect for his craft have opened face-to-face time with major professional athletes — leading to gigs babysitting NBA players’ children courtside to receiving game jerseys of multiple stars to even being bestowed the basketball net from the NBA Western Conference Finals. At the time of this article, Jake was preparing to head to the airport for a quick trip to Texas, where he was planning to broadcast the next Formula One car race.
Jake has amassed a wealth of success stories within the classroom and school, on the playing field, and in the community, proving himself a complete student, a curious and voracious learner, and a talented leader. One of the most impressive realities about Jake is that he has worked incredibly hard to overcome a life-long challenge of dyslexia. Never once letting this challenge hold him back, Jake took control of his own success by relying on his almost photographic memory to recall and communicate the most trivial of sports statistics, as well as uncover academic success in the classroom. He has six large white boards and multiple journals in his basement filled with historical athletic statistics, which he commits to memory and readily integrates into his broadcasts. He credits his incredibly supporting family for standing behind him, instilling in him the characteristic of caring for others, showing him how to compete as hard as possible while maintaining a deep humility, and to always follow his heart.
Jake describes himself as fierce competitor, humble, polite and innovative. Jake will succeed in whatever pathway he chooses in life. He is an outstanding individual who has an exceptionally bright future before him. Jake has truly left a positive legacy at Dakota Ridge High School.
Dakote Ridge principal Jim Jelinek contributes these profiles to the Courier.