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By Eli Bettiga

Not only a visual artist but also a lover of sports and language, Zaccheus White describes his main passion as one for learning and obtaining knowledge on his own. However, his need for education does not only pertain to his own personal desires, and this shows in the fact that his dream is to open up his own business, where the main goal is to teach a variety of art mediums to those who are stricken by poverty.

A recent graduate of Wingfield High School, White was born and raised in Jackson, and he enjoys drawing, photography, playing sports, and learning languages, including Spanish, French and Sign Language. He taught himself to “sign” in order to communicate with a deaf ex-girlfriend. He lives with his mom and six siblings, all of who have influenced his life, along with his grandparents and aunt. He says their influence is so strong on him because they “always maintain themselves, no matter how bad the situation is.”

Throughout his 18 years, White has struggled with two problems that often occur with teen males: being true to one’s self and girls. He’s been in multiple relationships that he has learned a lot from, and at the end of each one, he has always had a hard time letting all of that go. He also struggled with his own identity due to peer judgment.

“Having people laugh at you, who you were, what you did, how you spoke, dressed and looked always made me think that no one was going to like me for who I was,” White said. Fortunately, he learned to get past these grievances and accepted himself for who he was, claiming, “It’s better being a leader than a follower.”

This call for leadership shows in White’s desire to aid those in poverty-stricken areas through his own business, but also by building an adoption center for homeless children so that “one day they too can feel as if they’re at home,” he said. He wants to do this in order to show those who think there’s no hope for themselves that he cares from the heart. In fact, ever since a young age, White has wished to adopt his own little girl when he comes of legal age.

White grew up in Jackson, and despite his dislike of the potholes, abandoned homes and the relocation of certain businesses, he firmly believes that “it’s an amazing place to live.” White first learned of the Mississippi Youth Media Project from his mother and pursued it in order to gain experience and training in photography. He is looking forward to learning about other media subjects while enrolled in the program.