Flying, swimming and playing the tuba are just a few of the things that fascinate Johanna Jacobi.
Johanna Jacobi, 15, is an accomplished student at Sonora High. Amy Alonzo Rozak/Union Democrat, copyright 2012
Perhaps her most unusual passion — for a 15-year-old girl — has been helping her dad build an airplane, which no one but he can legally fly until 40 hours of flight time have been logged on it. Jacobi, in the meantime, is taking flying lessons at Columbia Airport.
“I love flying,” she said. “I grew up around it. We have always had a lot of plane pictures around, and we have always gone to air shows to see what’s new and different out there.”
She said building one at home — with parts everywhere — made it even more of an obsession for her.
This is the second plane her father has built. It’s a Zenair 601, a kit airplane that arrived at their home in a huge plywood box almost six years ago with a set of plans. Her mother and grandfather have also been involved in the project, along with a couple of her dad’s friends. She said one reason it took so long was that the kit had a problem which made it necessary to redo a lot of it.
Johanna is the only child of Cam and Linda Jacobi, of Sonora. He is a registered nurse, and she is the Tuolumne County Tobacco Use Prevention Education Coordinator.
The Jacobis lived in Yosemite National Park, where her mother taught at the park’s small elementary school, until Johanna graduated from eighth grade.
“It was quite a shock going from a little school with 30 kids in kindergarten through eighth-grade to Sonora High School,” she said. Sonora High has an enrollment of 1,022.
“We didn’t have sports (at Yosemite), but I was involved,” she said. “We had clubs, dance programs and lots of other little programs to get involved in. And, of course, there was hiking and swimming because of where we lived. It was a fun childhood. I do miss being there.”
At Sonora High, Johanna said, she loves math. She isn’t very interested in English, although she recently won the Rotary District 5220, Area 11, speech contest and will compete again at district level in Modesto on Saturday.
“I like figuring out how things fit together and making them work,” she said. “I don’t like trying to read books and find their hidden meanings. Math is much more in my zone.”
Johanna is a junior at Sonora High School and president of the Tuolumne County Interact Club. “It’s like the teenage Rotary Club,” she said. “We have been trying to revamp the club. Instead of being one club at each high school, it now incorporates seventh- through 12th-grade students throughout the county.”
Projects Interact has been involved in include helping send school supplies and medical supplies to Africa and working at the annual Super Bowl Breakfast at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, which raises money for charity.
She also plays tuba for the Sonora High School Golden Regiment Band, and is on the girls’ swim team, which has won all of its matches so far this year.
Her plan for the future is to study aeronautical engineering, hopefully at Embry-Riddle University in Arizona. After school, she hopes to work for large companies. Where she works will depend on where she finds jobs she is interested in.
“I like that I keep as many options open as I can,” she said. “I have always wanted to be involved. I like having a little down time, but not endless days of sitting and doing nothing. I like things to do and to be involved with other people and the community.”
She also likes to plan ahead.
“Some people like to think in the moment,” she said, “but I’m always about what’s coming next. What’s the next step and how will it help me in the future? It’s been a busy 15 years, but it’s been a lot of fun.”