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I WILL SOAR

"Building Student-Athletes into “Mighty Men”"

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What You Need To Know:

I WILL SOAR is an extraordinary documentary testimony on Pure Flix about one man’s calling to build a successful high school football program at an impoverished city school in his own hometown. Coach “T.J.” Jackson builds student-athletes into “mighty men” ready for exceptional lives beyond the playing field. His genius in building teams reaches even further as he builds partnerships with school administrators and staff, surrounding community resources, and college football recruiters. The movie inserts informative interviews with the varied participants into onsite footage. It paints a gripping picture of Coach Jackson connecting the souls of his team to the wider world.

Superb cinematography and expert editing in I WILL SOAR keep the beat to Coach Jackson’s story at Atlantic Community High School in Palm Beach County, Florida. I WILL SOAR has a strong Christian, biblical worldview. It promotes faith, prayer, church, Scripture, high standards of excellence, and supportive family and team relationships. However, I WILL SOAR has some descriptions of the players’ broken homelife and the unsafe street life of the school’s location. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children.

Content:

(CCC, BBB, V, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong Christian, biblical, moral worldview promotes faith, prayer, church, Scripture, disciplined hard work, high standards of excellence, and supportive family and team relationships, but there is discussion of broken families, material goods accumulated through immoral means and violence in the streets

Foul Language:
No foul language

Violence:
A street murder of a prospective student-athlete is described and discussed and there is some light football action

Sex:
No sex depicted, but there is a discussion of a college recruiter asking the coach if any of his student-athletes are also fathers of their own children

Nudity:
Infrequent, brief male upper bodies going shirtless in training workouts

Alcohol Use:
No alcohol use

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs;

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Brief discussions of dysfunctional family elements within 90% of the student households, as such a percentage either lives with a single parent or with extended family without biological parental presence.

More Detail:

I WILL SOAR is an extraordinary documentary testimony on Pure Flix about one man’s calling to build a successful high school football program at an impoverished city school in his own hometown, by building student-athletes into “mighty men” ready for exceptional lives beyond the playing field. I WILL SOAR is a high quality, captivating production with a strong Christian, biblical worldview that promotes faith, prayer, Bible reading, hard work, high standards of excellence, and supportive family and team relationships.

Eighty percent or more of the families at the Atlantic Community High School in Palm Beach County, Florida, live below the poverty line. Also, the school’s principal says 90% of the students either live with a single parent or with extended family without parental presence, like a grandfather or an aunt.

The documentary focuses on the remarkable seventh year of the school’s football coach, Tavarius “T.J.” Jackson.

I WILL SOAR provides soul-stirring documentary testimony of one man’s impassioned calling to building a high school football program through building student-athletes into “mighty men” ready for exceptional lives beyond the playing field. The incredible feat of doing that at a school in which 80% or more of the families live below the poverty level would seem a daunting enough challenge. Yet, in I WILL SOAR, the school principal explains that 90% of the students either live with a single parent or with extended family without parental presence, like a grandfather or an aunt. Focusing on the remarkable seventh year of Palm Beach County, Florida’s head football coach Tavarius “T.J.” Jackson at Atlantic Community High School, I WILL SOAR reveals the football team and staff as “family” theme that he stresses, so much so as to say that “when they leave Atlantic High School, they are still part of the family.”

I WILL SOAR compellingly portrays Jackson’s genius in building other teams while building the football team; his building of partnerships with the school’s administration and staff, with surrounding community resources like businesses and church, and with regional recruiting college programs, all cumulatively sets a gripping vision for connecting souls to the wider world around them. Informative interviews with all these participants, interspersed with onsite footage of many of their adventurous experiences, combine to provide riveting viewing that roughly follows the school year, from the fall semester football season through spring semester’s culmination in graduation.

I WILL SOAR is a high-quality production that’s won awards at multiple film festivals, including Best Director at the Palm Beach Film Festival. From head-and-shoulder interviews to game action shots, the camera quality and settings keep the movie moving. That said, there are few to no indicators for a sense of story direction.

I WILL SOAR has a strong Christian, biblical worldview.

For example, Coach Jackson invites the team members to Sunday church worship. A stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace” is performed in the locker room by a local vocalist. Also, pregame Scripture verses and prayers are described. Those include the phrase “Lord God, make me a mighty man,” a reference to David’s mighty men in the Hebrew Scriptures in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11-12. That prayer also includes the biblical words from Isaiah 40:31 “I mount up with wings like an eagle” (the high school mascot) “and I will soar” (the movie’s very title).

I WILL SOAR also promotes disciplined hard work, high standards of excellence, and family and team relationships based on building trust or faith. Coach Jackson’s basic philosophy is stated in his comment that “Football saved me, and if it saved me, it could probably save others.” His comment refers to his own origins from this very same neighborhood, his playing high school football in the very same town, and how it propelled him to a college football career at Virginia Tech that took him to a BCS National Championship Game.

I WILL SOAR presents a family-friendly portrait of American high school football. The production airs no foul language, whether profane, obscene, or blasphemous. Though American football contains a fairly large amount of physical contact, there is no focus or glorification on any violence within the sport. There is rare and brief male nudity from the waist up in the locker room and weight room. There is no sexual activity displayed or discussed. However, there is some conversation about why a college recruiter would ask Coach Jackson in a letter if any of his high school student-athletes were also fathers of their own children.

I WILL SOAR does have brief descriptions of the broken households of this poverty-stricken school population. One such story describes the tragic shooting death of a prospective player. Also, one student athlete suggests there are people on the streets who want to cause physical injury to the school’s football program participants so they can’t play or go on to play college ball. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children.


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