Student Spotlight: Jake Sowder


Zack Sowder, left, Jacob Sowder and Brent Shishido, right, sit on a capsized vessel offshore of Little Torch Key in the Florida Keys.

Brandon Russell, Photojournalist

Jake Sowder (11), One of the three teenage boys rescued from atop of a boat on a vacation to the Florida Keys, is a now well known student on the Yorba Linda High School campus and all around the city. All due to his stunning and miraculous rescue from a capsized boat during their luxurious Florida vacation. Jake stated, “ When on the boat, my brother, Zack Sowder, and my friend Brent Shishido, began fishing on the back of the boat.” It seemed like a normal gorgeous day in the Keys; however, now more than three miles offshore, there was no prediction that their boat may become nonexistent in the upcoming hours. According to Jake, Zack, and Brent, “The back of the boat continuously began to flood in more than two feet of water, My Brother and Brent ran to the front of the boat and began to pull up the anchor. While I was in the back reeling in a fish. Once we realized the anchor was stuck, we began to continuously cut the anchor line.” These actions By Jake and the other survivors all miraculously aided in the survival of the three Orange County teens. Thus making their story a statewide conversation.

Jake, in all Honors and prestigious classes, quickly began to use his knowledge to save himself, his friends and his family. His actions of unhooking his fish and focusing on the big picture is a astounding reason why he is still on this earth today. Jake noticed “As soon as the fish dropped, it hit nothing but more than 3 feet of water inside the now tipping boat.” Now releasing the fish and focusing on survival, Jake and company quickly hurried to the tip of the boat and salvaged any precious items they could. “Thankfully Brent [one of the survivors] managed to save his phone and climb to the top with one bar remaining on his phone, we called and waited for help to arrive.”

According to the OC Register and Florida Sheriffs, “They were fortunate enough to know their rough location. They were lucky they had a cell signal,” local Florida sheriff’s officials wrote on their Facebook page. When rescued, “Zack, Brent, and I, were very relieved yet very much embarrassed. The rescue teams told us we did everything correct when the boat started to capsize and that if we didn’t do what we did we would most likely not be alive.” When asked how he felt about being on the news for the first time in his life, he responded that “It felt cool to be on the news but at the same time it wasn’t an ideal situation to make nationwide news.” With the crazy experience now over, Jake is back to his normal routine and continually striving to be the best he can be at everything he puts his mind too. With that, he’s just “Glad everyone ended up okay.”