Jaydin Fairbanks, a member of Osseo Senior High School Class of 2023, is the ThreeSixty Journalism 2023 scholar. This award grants him a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to study Emerging Media at the University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences, starting in fall 2023.
Fairbanks plans to use the scholarship to expand his horizons in education.
“I plan to try to get the full college experience. I want join clubs and meet new people. There’s a bunch of aspiring students, and I want to meet them and learn for the future,” said Fairbanks.
The scholarship ensures Fairbanks will be the first in his family to get an opportunity of this scope and generosity.
“Unlike my parents, who had to take care of their kids while going to college, I plan on getting the full college experience,” he said.
Fairbanks was born in a Navajo Nation in Arizona and arrived in Minnesota after a stint in Oklahoma. He was not expecting to be selected as the winner of the ThreeSixty Scholarship. In fact, he took the call with the good news while he was at his grandmother’s funeral.
“I had very mixed feelings. I mean, I felt happy, but literally my grandma’s casket was right behind me. There were so many mixed emotions I had,” Fairbanks said.
After reflecting on the news that day, the timing of the call led Fairbanks to momentarily wonder if his grandmother played a part in the break of luck.
“The next day, after all my feelings, I was really happy. I was glad I got it, I felt like maybe my grandma gave it to me.” said Fairbanks.
Fairbanks said the origin of his experience with ThreeSixty can be traced back to his mom, Arlene Fairbanks, insisting that he get out of the house and do something productive with his time as summer 2021 rolled around.
“It was during COVID, and I was just sitting around doing nothing. That’s why my mom signed me up for it,” said Fairbanks.
ThreeSixty chose Fairbanks out of a pool of high school seniors who graduated from a ThreeSixty Journalism camp. The scholarship is worth more than $160,000 over four years.
“Jaydin is an eager student and quick learner who is talented and tech savvy,” ThreeSixty Program Manager Theresa Malloy Lemickson said. “He takes what he learns in the classroom and uses those skills to tell stories in his community. He has a bright future.”
Arlene Fairbanks said, “This scholarship brings me immense pride and joy. It definitely reflects the efforts and commitment I have given Jaydin over his childhood to nurture his natural abilities to strive and succeed in reaching his goals.”
Jaydin Fairbanks’ earliest encounters with storytelling and media came through making and editing YouTube videos of another one of his passions: video gaming.
“I started making some things on an editing program I got when I was younger. I actually started a YouTube channel of mostly gameplay videos but putting little editing tricks on it to make it funny,” he said. “I like making and telling funny stories and making people laugh. Then when I got into ThreeSixty I was like ‘Oh snap! You can actually do this as a job!’” Fairbanks said.
Fairbanks hopes to learn about producing films and stories while in college.
“My dream job … probably getting on a TV set and helping people, doing stuff, telling them what to do, but not exactly a director. I want to see the process happening, like, maybe a production manager or producer,” said Fairbanks.
Arlene Fairbanks would like to see her son become a positive influence on the community that shaped him and create a domino effect of success wherever he goes.
“As a person growing up on the Navajo Nation Reservation, this scholarship will have a huge impact on Jaydin’s life and career. So many individuals living on the reservation are in constant survival mode,” she said. “I hope for him to become a role model within our community, and one day bring his knowledge, skills and experiences to help address the challenges many face living on the reservation and in other native communities. I hope he will create a ripple effect throughout and will inspire and motivate others to pursue their own educational aspirations.”