Jabari Richileu-Bruzual and the True Meaning of “Home is Where the Heart Is”

by Andrew DiBiasio

 

The auditory echo of the swimming pool was not just a sound; it was an enthralling calling for 17-year-old Canton High School Senior, Jabari Richileu-Bruzual. The droplets, the splashes, and the atmosphere all circulated in a cycle of captivation as his feet glided gently on the diving board’s perplexingly rough yet smooth surface. He anxiously awaits his weekly rite of passage, his daunting task, an aquatic adventure. The suddenness of a bullhorn is the gateway into his element. His body slashes through the water, grazing the floor as his brain renders this incredible feeling into a picture of home. 

“I’ve taken part in swimming since the seventh grade. I usually compete in the freestyle, 100-meter breast, 100-meter backstroke, and a lot of relays,” Jabari explains as he demonstrates the lengths with his hand gestures. A “dolphin of all trades,” Jabari considers himself to be an extremely adaptable, competitive, and versatile swimmer.

However, Jabari Richilieu-Bruzual’s home wasn’t just the swimming pool. Jabari moves forward with a constant philosophy in his life: making the most out of any place in the world. In fact, Jabari has many places he would consider as home.

His footsteps scraped and kicked the asphalt floor, heat sizzling out of the tar. The sun’s rays bouncing off of windshields, setting the air ablaze. Skyscrapers plot the skyline ahead as clouds of white and skies of blue paint the Earth beyond limits. The wind frantically curves and ripples as cars soar throughout the abrupt atmosphere. Honks audiate the night scene during rush hour, as bright lights from the city blend with waterfront illuminations, subtle and calm breezes of chaos brewed the perfect cup of home coffee for Jabari. Cambridge was home away from Canton. He is part of the Cambridge competitive swim team, where his uncle, one of his biggest supporters, motivates him to become a better swimmer. 

“What’s so important to me about swimming in Cambridge is that it drives me to become better as not only an athlete, but a more hardworking person. My uncle’s team showed me that it’s a privilege to perform and compete for people and it’s important to be happy with myself, whatever place I get,” Jabari claims with a nod of approval.

 

The winds seep through the lush tips of green palm trees as they frolic and dance to the tune of calypso, soca, chutney, and steelpan. The waves lull the tradewinds, adding gloss, polishing the serene rocks. The crest gently folds the sands of tranquility as exotic waters add a vivid touch of aquatic beauty to their landscape. Striking feathers of beaming reds, dazzling oranges, and blazing yellows beaming intensity coexist with pacific greens, soothing blues, and peaceful purples, emulating beauty. As Jabari inhales, he can feel the cool, tropical breeze through his lungs, and in a matter of moments, he exhales, all his worries dwindling away and dissolving in the refreshing air.  

“I get a lot of inspiration and encouragement from not only my uncle, but my family from Trinidad and Tobago, especially a lot of older people. It’s a beautiful island and family is huge there. It has a very nice, warm feel. The people are very open. Everyone is your family. They all want what’s best for you. It’s somewhere unlike America. It’s my own safe and happy place, somewhere only I am familiar with,” Jabari informs me with a smile on his face, reminiscing about the countless memories in the past, and memories he will make in the future.

 

As he descends back into the present mind, his footsteps echo endlessly through the empty hallways of Canton High School, or in this challenging instance, his home. The moment his pencil touches the paper, a gateway into imagination opens, revealing opportunities, dreams, and success, opening his sights into his own future. Thoughts of our own Mother Earth circulate in his head, for he yearns to figure out why the grass grows green, why the sky turns blue, how disastrous volcanoes erupt so graciously. Perhaps, thoughts and daydreams of our own, current American society revolve and open doors for an embarkment on a journey through our history, civil rights activism, equity, and systemic racism. 

“I just want to figure out how the world works socially,” Jabari outlines his hopes with a hint of curiousness in his voice.

Jabari’s mind flourished in school, where he’s able to get a sneak peek into his dream life by taking courses such as Journalism and Publishing and American Identities.

 “Some classes I picked were chosen for the simplest reasons. I chose American Identities in a heartbeat, because I knew it was taught by Mrs. Kelly and I love her. She’s the best,” Jabari chuckles as he explains some of his classes to me. 

Jabari’s soul was energized in school, constantly surrounding himself with positive, good people, one of the elements in his own happiness philosophy. Jabari hopes to continue to expand his horizons and try new things as his interests grow in different clubs such as Community Service Club, Eye in the Sky, and even Dance Club. In his future, he looks forward to using his platform to raise awareness towards his historical interests such as the Black Lives Matter movements, to influence others to vote and accomplish his hopes of making a positive, important impact in the world just like his inspirations who strived to improve the American sense of acceptance and equity each and every day.

 “I am most interested in exploring our country’s future. I just can’t wait to get out there. Someday I will, one difference at a time,” Jabari promises himself with a sense of determination.