Lost and found

Before the pandemic hit, Emily Jackson found a way to continue he gymnastics career

Emily Jackson has done a lot. 

In addition to taking a full load of honors and AP classes, Jackson also participated in track, cross-country, and gymnastics. Riverside had not had a gymnastics team in many years, but she and 2020 Riverside graduate Chyanne Couturier brought it back.

‘We were on a club team together at Acrosport Gymnastics,” Jackson said. Going into ninth grade we knew we wanted to compete at the high school level and we thought it would be fun to start something new at Riverside.”

Creating the team allowed Jackson to continue her gymnastics career, which began just down the road, on the corner of Rose and Sharon and Guess Road, when she was young. 

“I was in kindergarten when me and my mom drove past Acrosport, and I thought that it was a ballet school”, Jackson said. “My mom told me that it was actually gymnastics, which I had never heard of before.” I wanted to join purely out of curiosity, so my mom put my sister and I in classes. A few years later, we started competing and I really fell in love with the sport!”  

Jackson says her arts teachers and coaches were a huge part of her high school experience. 

“When I was a freshman I took beginning and intermediate dance,” Jackson said. “It was very outside of my comfort zone but Ms. Duncan helped me throughout both classes and always pushed me and my classmates to be confident and have fun. 

“My cross-country and track coaches also played a huge role in my high school experience. Even though I’m not a fan of long distance running, I always looked forward to cross-country season because the whole team feels like a family.

Jackson plans to attend NC State in the fall as a member of the Environmental First Year program and pursue a major related to Environmental science. She said her senior year of high school doesn’t feel real because of the pandemic and virtual classes. 

“It kind of feels like we ‘lost’ this past year, or that it didn’t really count,” she said. “Sometimes it’ll randomly hit me that I’ll be done with high school, which feels bittersweet. Regardless, I’m excited to move on to college and adulthood.”

photo courtesy of Shaun Thompson

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