Atlantic High football’s ‘I Will Soar’ screens in Coral Gables

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The Coral Gables Magazine and Coral Gables Art Cinema recently sponsored the award-winning documentary, “I Will Soar,” about the Atlantic Eagles football program at the Art Cinema.

Welcoming native Janie Swanko and her collaborator John Sturdy, the packed theater was filled with Swanko’s childhood friends most from her alma mater Coral Gables Senior High School and members of their girls’ water polo state championship team.

The film is the true story of high school football coach TJ Jackson whose unique program transforms disadvantaged students into winners on the field and in life, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Swanko and Sturdy followed Jackson at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach for nearly three years.

Their project faced many challenges including repeated shutdowns due to COVID-19. This is the first documentary that Sturdy and Swanko have collaborated on, but they hope to do more.

“What an incredible night to be with so many friends I grew up within my hometown of Coral Gables,” Swanko said, “and have the opportunity to introduce them to these amazing young men who’ve changed my life.”

Former Eagles football players Cardy Derney (FSU), Henry Bryant (Louisville), and Bruce Adlar (Bryant University) were all in town for the screening and shared stories with the audience about what Atlantic’s program did for them and their desire to succeed in life.

The celebration continued with a reception at Bay 13 a few blocks away in which guests enjoyed appetizers and cocktails.

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