Humans of Staples: Jack Whitten grins and violins his way through Staples


Walking through the busy halls of Staples, you may notice an upbeat, lively red head bobbing among the crowd on his way to class. This is Jack Henry Whitten ’18, or as his friends call him, “JH.” After living in Fairfield for more than 10 years, Whitten moved to Westport this past summer.

Whitten describes himself as being a very optimistic and happy person.

“I love to laugh,” Whitten said.

But he is also a curious individual with many interests.

“I like to read and watch ‘Lost.’ I like to run. I like to play softball and baseball in my backyard. I like history and creative writing, but I really love biology,” Whitten said.

However, his calling is the violin. Ten years ago, while most of his peers were busy finger painting or playing with Play Doh, Whitten began playing the violin.

Whitten credits one of many musical experiences as the defining moment in which he recognized his passion. “I think that it all started when I attended Ogontz Suzuki institute in 2008,” Whitten said. “I loved playing with friends in an orchestra and having more experienced violinists to look up to,” Whitten said.

Whitten has been attending New England Music Camp for three years and is a member of the Staples Symphonic Orchestra, composed of mostly upperclassmen. He is also a member of the Norwalk Youth Symphony’s principal orchestra, which Whitten describes as being “the most insane thing” that he has ever achieved.

Being so dedicated to the instrument has led Whitten to numerous achievements. Whitten was named assistant concertmaster of the Fairfield County String Festival Honors Orchestra, and was a principal second violin at New England Music Camp. Despite a demanding practice schedule, Whitten considers himself an easy-going person. “I’m pretty even tempered and level           headed– nothing really gets me going,” Whitten said.

Yet there is one thing that pushes Whitten’s buttons. “When I have a sandwich, I don’t like it when someone takes a bite out of the pristine half — they should take it out of the one I’m eating,” Whitten said jokingly, a bit agitated by the thought.

While he isn’t sure what the future will hold for him, he has big dreams.

“If I could, I’d love to be a professional violinist, or maybe a marine biologist, a manager of a baseball team, a broadcaster of games or a baseball writer–especially anything that involves baseball,” Whitten said. In terms of where he’d want to pursue one of these careers, Whitten loves beaches and thinks “a tropical beach would be cool to live on — the ones with the cabanas. But realistically maybe Boston or Chicago.”

So in 20 years, look for Whitten. Maybe you’ll see him broadcasting baseball games on TV, or maybe he’ll be examining the behavior of whales. Whatever he chooses, he’ll definitely still be playing his violin.