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“I know that he’s going to be there”

When it comes to wrestling, it’s his dad not his AP supporting him
By Ryan Shapiro

For most students, going to school means time away from their parents.

But for senior, state-bound and regional champion wrestler, James-Ethan Harris, that’s been a bit of a challenge as his dad Jason Harris, is one of the school’s assistant principals. 

I know that he’s going to be there, won or lost in and and congratulate me and tell me how good I’ve done,

— senior James-Ethan Harris

“People think that it’s like a burden like to have your dad at school,” James-Ethan said. “It really doesn’t bother me at all, and might have been the way that I grew up. He’s always been there, it’s more, more of a more of a benefit than, than the downfall, I guess. But it also allows me to have a bunch of personal connections with the staff here.”

His dad wants James-Ethan to be himself, while still trying to hold him high expectations. 

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“I try to balance the two being a dad, and of course, being his assistant principal,” Jason said. “It’s kind of hard at times, but I really try to let him have his freedom to to do what you know, what he wants to do and just kind of stay out of his way. I’m probably in some aspects harder on him than probably most students here. You know, a lot of you guys get warnings. He doesn’t get too many warnings. He knows what’s expected out of him.”

To many students, “Mr.” Harris is one of the school’s tough principals. 

“People say he’s hard because people mess around, and people get in trouble” James-Ethan said. “If you don’t get in trouble, you like him.”

But at home, things are a bit more relaxed.

“He was in the military. He holds me to the same standard at school and at home,” James-Ethan said. “I can mess with him, I can push them around, if I pushed them around here, he would get on to me and I don’t know, give me an in-school suspension.”

Since James’ first year of wrestling, his dad Jason has been there every step of the way as his biggest supporter.

I try to balance the two being a dad, and of course, being his assistant principal,

— assistant principal Jason Harris

“I want him to know that I’m there supporting him,” Jason said. “He has three coaches over there coaching him. He doesn’t need me coaching him. I’m just there to support him. So I don’t want to be that parent that is over the top.”

Although James doesn’t necessarily hear his dad when he’s wrestling, he knows that his dad is in the stands cheering him on.

“He’s just one of my biggest supporters, even though he doesn’t scream really like some of these other parents,” James-Ethan said. “I know that he’s going to be there, won or lost in and and congratulate me and tell me how good I’ve done.”

This story was originally published on Wingspan on February 16, 2023.