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Alumnus Derek Jaskowiak rises through the ranks

Jaskowiak+poses+for+a+picture+in+the+Suez+Canal+while+on+a+tour+of+duty+in+2006.+He+was+stationed+on+the+U.S.N.S.+Bighorn+and+traveled+around+Africa+on+this+deployment.
Jaskowiak poses for a picture in the Suez Canal while on a tour of duty in 2006. He was stationed on the U.S.N.S. Bighorn and traveled around Africa on this deployment.

Jaskowiak poses for a picture in the Suez Canal while on a tour of duty in 2006. He was stationed on the U.S.N.S. Bighorn and traveled around Africa on this deployment.

Courtesy of Derek Jaskowiak

Courtesy of Derek Jaskowiak

Jaskowiak poses for a picture in the Suez Canal while on a tour of duty in 2006. He was stationed on the U.S.N.S. Bighorn and traveled around Africa on this deployment.

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Navy Lieutenant Commander Derek Jaskowiak plans to spend his whole adult life with the military. He has passed through the U.S. Naval Academy and traveled everywhere from Europe to Africa to Asia while a Navy officer. Since graduating West in 1999, Jaskowiak was certain of his calling.

Courtesy of Derek Jaskowiak

A starting offensive lineman, Jaskowiak played Division I football for the Naval Academy. Playing for the team was one of his biggest goals when he entered the Academy.

I left Parkway West a big fish in a small pond, and arrived at the Naval Academy a teeny tiny fish in an ocean. Hard work, a positive attitude and being prepared when my opportunities appeared allowed me to repeat a lot of the same success I experienced in high school, on the larger stage of the Naval Academy,” Jaskowiak said. “I started for the football team, was selected to play in a college all-star game, served as my Company’s Commander my senior year and graduated in the top 10 percent of my class.”

Jaskowiak set the record for discus in high school and had newspaper articles written about his football prowess at the Naval Academy, all memories he looks back on fondly today.

“I was on the football, basketball and track teams while at West, and those teams put me in daily contact with a great number of role models. [Coaches] Scott Weismann, Bill Sodeman, Dale Shepherd, just to name a few,” Jaskowiak said. “Academically, the [Calculus] 1 teacher Sam Stolle really provided an environment that help me turn a corner. Before his class, I was getting by on ability, but was not fully engaged. After his class, I did not get another B in high school.”

After graduating the Naval Academy in 2003, Jaskowiak began his career as an officer and has been serving with the Navy for 14 years.

“As an officer in the Navy, you start a new job every two years. Every time this happens, you are starting back a square one. Thus far in my career, the same pattern has repeated itself where by the time I leave a job, I am performing at the highest level. Ultimately, this has lead to my selection to become commanding officer of a warship,” Jaskowiak said.

Living in these different communities and visiting the different parts of the world has provided an opportunity to see people and events from a variety of perspectives which has provided me a greater understanding of the world around me.”

— Derek Jaskowiak

Although he is currently stationed in San Diego, Jaskowiak has lived in seven different states across the U.S..

Courtesy of Derek Jaskowiak
Jaskowiak poses with his wife, Elizabeth, and children Maggie, Charles, Edward and Henry.

“Living in these different communities and visiting the different parts of the world has provided an opportunity to see people and events from a variety of perspectives which has provided me a greater understanding of the world around me,” Jaskowiak said.

Through the many advancements and changes of his Navy career, Jaskowiak credits mentors he had while in high school for the traits of perseverance and positive attitude that shape his life today.

“A combination of preparation, attitude, ability and opportunity will decide your future course,” Jaskowiak said. “You never know when an opportunity will present itself, so you have to be ready. It sounds cliche, but I have very rarely regretted taking an opportunity.”

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High
Alumnus Derek Jaskowiak rises through the ranks