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Pursuing Excellence

As a young man, Jared Bass dreamt of becoming a professional clarinetist. He felt inferior as he listened to the recordings of great musicians. He thought he could never be as good.

Seeing a live performance changed all that. Witnessing the joy created ignited a passion within him. He determined to press past his fears to become the best.

He worked hard, and by his junior year at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, he was the best. Jared was accepted into district, regional and state bands as well as many organizations and orchestras.

Upon acceptance to the conservatory of his dreams, he realized he had done it. He too could “shape and present beauty to listening ears,” he said. He would be a professional.

But then, everything changed.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Jared was in rehearsal practicing the “Star Spangled Banner” when terrorism hit home. He would never see the world the same way again.

Seeing the hatred and the fear the Sept. 11 attacks produced, he realized there was terror around him not caused by any terrorist group but rather by social injustice, hunger and poverty; something needed to be done.

“I love music,” Jared says. “I always will. However, I didn’t see myself changing the world through the clarinet.”

He decided to pursue political science.

Now in his fourth year at Eastern, Jared is the president of the Student Government Association.

His presidency follows two years as class senator and one semester in Washington, D.C., interning in a congressional office, where he practiced his passion to help people. He has also spent two summers teaching academic excellence to children in city schools.

Jared does not know what the future holds. He trusts God will lead him, but he does have a few things in mind.

He said being a university professor would give him the opportunity to share his passion.

He also said being a politician is a possibility, and if his record as president of the SGA means anything, he will be a great one.

Jared’s goal as president was to make promises he would keep. He wanted to enhance the quality of life on campus by finding practical solutions to everyday problems. He has worked to meet his goal.

This year, the visiting hours in dorms were pushed back from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m. on Homecoming Day for the convenience of visiting families, and lights were fixed around campus as was the gym equipment.

In addition, the SGA has presented to the Board of Trustees a proposal to engrave the sign at the entrance to campus, as well as a proposal for a technology tutorial to help those students who need to brush up on their computer skills.

The Bible’s encouragement to “seek excellence and pursue it” has always been an inspiration to Jared.

Over the years, whether playing the clarinet or serving others, he has learned what this means.

“Sometimes it is sacrificing being the best to be excellent,” he said.

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