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Where faith leads, Nakasone follows

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Jesse Nakasone is learning to manage money. The Lincoln High School senior’s future will depend on it. The 17-year-old Nakasone has been accepted to UC Irvine and The Master’s College, but where he goes will hinge on how much money he can muster. Each and every dollar counts at this point. With two siblings already in college, Nakasone realizes his parents can only offer so much assistance. He could apply for a loan, but he wants to avoid leaving college “with a mountain of debt.” “The biggest factor in my choice is how much money I will receive (from a university or college),” Nakasone said Monday. “I at least want my first year to be paid for.” His college fund received a boost Tuesday when Nakasone received a $600 scholarship from the Sac-Joaquin Section. He was the only Pioneer Valley League athlete to be honored with an award. Athletics are now in the past for Nakasone as he prepares for his future. He played soccer and wrestled in his four years with the Zebras, earning two PVL wrestling championships in his career. When he graduates in June, Nakasone will trade his singlet and shin guards for a stack of college books. He will be the sixth of his parent’s seven children to receive a diploma from the school. The seventh, Jeremiah, is a freshman. “Right now, I can’t see (playing sports). That’s what high school is for,” he said. “I’m just going to study. Studying will take all my time.” His goal of reaching the state wrestling meet for the first time came to an end in February when Nakasone lost twice in the section Division III tournament. His second loss packed a powerful sting. “It didn’t end as well as I wanted it to,” Nakasone recalled. “It was the last time I was ever going to wrestle. It took a couple of days for me to deal with it, but there was nothing I could do about it.” Faith allowed Nakasone to put his disappointment in perspective. His father, Verne, is the pastor at Foothill Bible Church. Nakasone is a religious young man whose beliefs come from the Bible. “God is in complete control of all things,” he said. “I trust in his plan.” Nakasone leads a simple life in a time when teens are fascinated with text messaging, music and the concept of cool. He prefers to spend his free time volunteering at homes for the elderly. He also sings in the choir at his father’s church. If folks choose to define him by his faith, so be it. “I try to share my faith with people if they’re open to it,” he said, “but a lot of people aren’t open to it.” Nakasone’s service in the community had as much to do with the $600 scholarship he received Tuesday as his athletic prowess and academic accomplishments, which include his 4.02 GPA. His high school days are now numbered, and Nakasone has rarely had the time to catch his breath. “Everybody says it goes by fast, but you don’t believe it,” he said. “Then it goes by fast.”