Jae B., A Better Chance Scholar at The Thacher School

Young people dressed in hats and hiking outfits leap holding hands in front of sequoia trees
A football player carries a helmet, striding with three others. All wear green Thatcher uniforms
A young person with black hair wearing a black shirt and  leather jacket speaks under a spotlight.
A horseback rider leans a horse around an orange cone, the horse has %22Viva La Verde%22 in green paint on its rear
A brown skinned person in tank top sits at the edge of a stone wall, arms open wide, overlooking mountains
A Thatcher uniformed football player poses with two adults and two children
Jae Bailon in green football uniform, smiling on the field
Jae Bailon laughs holding the head of a dark brown horse nuzzling their chest
Two people smile standing on a street corner with colorful signs in the background and the text %22Chinatown%22 in the corner
Person with long black hair, light shirt and jeans seated on a bench next to a sign saying %22The Thatcher School%22

Athlete, Artist, Musician, and Active Member of his Community, both at school and beyond.


How He Became a Scholar

According to Jae, "When I was in the 6th grade my high school advisor called me into her office. She told me about this amazing program called A Better Chance that I should apply to... So I decided to apply and here I am now."

How he thinks his life might have been different had he not become a Scholar

When Jae reflects on all he learned from A Better Chance, he believes it really may have made the difference in his being successful at The Thacher School, starting with their decision to admit him. As a Scholar, he prepared for interviews and testing, learned how the environments of different Member Schools worked, and discovered the breadth of education options available to him.

Other incredible things he suspects wouldn't have happened were it not for A Better Chance: competing in English equestrian events and going to Panama with the nonprofit organization Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS) to work with community members and other volunteers on community development projects in public health, youth engagement, and environmental sustainability.

"I'm in this amazing school that is teaching me about the greater good," says Jae, "so when I am here and when I leave, I can make changes."

What Jae does in addition to his studies

In addition to classes at The Thacher School, Jae volunteers at a local farm and as a tutor at a local elementary school. He has played both JV and Varsity Football for Thacher, plays in a string ensemble, and has participated in multiple theatrical productions at Thacher, too. He works on the school newspaper, The Notes, and is an active member of Spectrum, the schools' LGBTQ+ group, and Latinos Unidos. He is also working on the curriculum for a class he'll teach next year and loves playing bass guitar, doing ceramics, writing poetry, and reading.

Get to Know Yesterday's Scholars

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Bonnie Jenkins, A Better Chance Alumna '78

Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Obama Administration, Lt. Commander in the US Naval Reserves, and Expert Peace Advocate whose work has touched most of the major conflicts of our times.