WATERFORD (WITI) -- When Calvin Jaskie gets his high school diploma next month, the applause from the crowd will be long and loud. That's because the young man has been an inspiration to family members and friends who have loved him and walked through tragedy with him.
"Football has been, you know, the biggest for me. I've always loved football," Calvin Jaskie said.
Calvin Jaskie excelled at it too.
Standing a slender 6'2" tall, the Waterford High School standout was a go-to receiver and a lockdown cornerback.
Jaskie was so gifted that he joined the track and field team on a whim and at the urging of a buddy.
"He wanted me to come out and try high jump. It all started out as a joke. I came out and I was fooling around a little bit and I ended up starting on varsity my sophomore year for high jump. The next thing led to another and I was long jumping, high jumping. I was running the 200 -- all on varsity," Calvin Jaskie said.
Since grade school, football has always been Jaskie's passion. It goes beyond the game.
"The brotherhood, and the friendship that you get through it. The people that you meet -- people that you maybe wouldn't have ever talked to -- or you wouldn't have that connection with them after high school. People that you can talk to just about anytime," Jaskie said.
The love and support of family and friends became a means of survival for Jaskie after he lost his father, Craig in a car accident.
Calvin Jaskie was in fifth grade.
"It was tough. I was young. I didn't have the greatest understanding of everything being that I was young. It didn't really hit me until I got a little bit older -- and realizing that, you know, this is real life. It's true. It's something that other people take for granted every day," Jaskie said.
Somehow, Calvin Jaskie got through that loss, but five years later, tragedy struck again. He lost his big sister Lea in a separate car accident.
"Things just went downhill from there for a good couple months. I figured that sports wouldn't be the best idea for me -- even though I've always been that person that tried to put something else in the way to keep other things off my mind," Jaskie said.
"It's sad. I mean, no one should have to go through that," Jack Bauer said.
Jack Bauer has been teammates and best of friends with Calvin Jaskie since the two were 10 or 11 years old.
"When his sister passed -- we had gotten closer. It was just a couple years ago. I went to the funeral and I saw Calvin there, and it was a very emotional time -- but Calvin, he was just standing up there by his sister, and he's just so strong -- I can't really explain it," Bauer said.
"You find kids that go through things like Calvin and they go down the wrong road pretty easy. And he never stepped foot on that road. He stayed true. He inspires. He inspires everybody he comes in contact with. He really does,"
Calvin Jaskie is strong, but human. He decided to take a year off from football when he was a junior.
He came back for his senior season and impressed everyone on and off the field.
"I mean, these are true life-changing experiences and he was able to overcome and somehow get through some things that maybe not a lot of kids or even adults would be able to do themselves,"
Obviously, it hasn't been easy. Calvin has gone through the grief and the "why me" stage -- but his attitude belies his tender years.
"I've come to believe that there are people in the world who are a lot less fortunate than I am, and I think that I'm fortunate for the friends and family that I still have. And that the people around me are good people -- and that they take care of me," Calvin Jaskie said.
Calvin Jaskie will graduate from Waterford High School later this month.
He wants to become an electrical engineer -- and as he moves forward in life, he will carry the spirit of his late father and sister -- as well as their desires for him, in his heart.
"This is what they would want me to do. They would want me to be happy. And they would want me to do what I want to do and still be the man that my father would want me to be -- and the big brother that my sister would want me to be -- even though she was three years older than me. I like to believe that they are proud," Jaskie said.