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Mira Costa Graduate Spotlight: Jesse Wilson, Class of 2005

As Mira Costa High School celebrates its 60th year this week, Patch walks back, decade by decade, to see what memories and wisdom former Mustangs have to share about their alma mater.

Jesse Wilson recalls making drip castles in the sands of Manhattan Beach and a teacher who taught him respect for creativity, discipline and rebellion.

Manhattan Beach Patch: You graduated from Mira Costa in 2005. What did you enjoy most about the school?

Jesse Wilson: I enjoyed the early morning ceramics classes, the late afternoon baseball classes, the midday Spanish class field trips to Amigos Tacos.

Patch: Do you have any friends from high that you continue to be good friends with?

Wilson: Absolutely! In fact, I have two roommates from Mira Costa who I currently live with outside of Eugene, OR. Most of my friends from Mira Costa are scattered up and down the West Coast, thus justifying countless roadtrips from B.C. to Baja and back again.

Patch: What was the most important thing you got out of Costa?

Wilson: "Play hard, play smart, play like it is your last game."  —Costa baseball

Patch: Which MCHS teacher made a lasting impression on you?

Wilson: Mr. [William] Brown during sophomore English class. Mr. Brown was the most respectful man I have ever met. He demonstrated the utmost respect for students and faculty; respect for knowledge and the power of an educated mind; respect for poetry, for martial arts, for the stars above and for the earth below; for adherence and for discipline, as well as respect for creativity and rebellion. For these reasons, I respect Mr. Brown for having the greatest influence on my Costa experience.

Patch: Where did you go to college, what degrees do you have and what jobs have you held/profession are you in?

Wilson: I graduated from the University of Oregon in March of 2010 with a degree in Environmental Geography. I am currently employed as an adjunct professor in the landscape architecture department teaching urban farming to university students of all walks and from all disciplines. (Wilson teaches organic farming methods and advocates planting edible gardens that can include perennial fruit trees and berry patches.)

Patch: Who else in your family attended Costa?

Wilson: My mom graduated in '69, I think. Valerie Maxwell.

Patch: What did you do for fun during your high school days?

Wilson: Surfing, baseball, tidepooling in [Palos Verdes], gardening, garage sale hunting, fruit tree foraging, eating at El Tarasco, and building drip [sand] castles at Marine.

Patch: What was your favorite hangout spot?

Wilson: Marine Street down at the beach.

Patch: What was a favorite activity or accomplishment you enjoyed?

Wilson: We had end-of-the-year banquets for our baseball team every year, and I always looked forward to them. There would be a summary of the season and then the coaches would present season highlights. It was a great recap of everything and you'd hear personal stories recounted from the coaches. It was cool to see all of us dressed up and it was a great way to end the season each year.

Patch: What song reminds you of high school?

Wilson: "Society" by Pennywise and "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding.

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